Peace, assurance and hope are the buildings blocks behind the sixth annual "Walk a Mile in my Shoes" fundraiser for the Muncie Mission Ministries tomorrow at 8 a.m.
The fundraiser hopes to bring awareness to the community about homelessness in Muncie as well as the challenges homeless people face each day.
According to a count of the Delaware County homeless by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, homelessness in Muncie increased by 100 percent since last year.
The count showed 447 homeless men, women and children in the county, up from 223 last year. These numbers concern Muncie Mission executive director Ray Raines, especially with the struggling economy.
"The number of men staying here has gone up and certainly their unemployment has something to do with it," he said. "Homelessness has no season, it is all the time. We need to bring more awareness to the community of what our mission does and what it is working towards."
There is no registration fee for the walk, but Raines hopes participants will at least raise a penny per foot, or $52.80. Last year the event has 1,800 participants and raised $80,000 for the mission.
During the one-mile, non-competitive walk participants will be able to understand the extreme conditions homeless people live in everyday. The walk begins at the Horizon Convention Center, 401 S. High St, and ends at the Muncie Mission with return transportation provided by MITS.
The Muncie Mission has offered assistance to Muncie's homeless men since 1930 and Dennis Powell was just one of the hundreds that the mission has helped over their 80 years of service to the community.
Without "Walk a Mile in our Shoes," men like Powell would have a more difficult time getting out of the snowy streets of Muncie and into the warm shelter of the Muncie Mission.
"There are those of us that have decided to give it a legitimate shot at changing our lives and Walk a Mile is important in doing that," Powell said.
What: Muncie Mission Ministries' Walk a Mile in my Shoes
When: Saturday Feb. 6. Registration is at 8 a.m. and the walk begins at 9 a.m.
Where: 1725 S Liberty St, Muncie, IN
Why: To increase awareness of homelessness in Muncie.
Sponsors: Toyota and Scion of Muncie; AEP Indian Michigan Power; Meijer; Muncie's ESPN Radio 1340; Werk-FM 104.9; and WLBC 104.1 FM.
For more information visit www.munciemission.org.