The 4th annual Walk for Warmth started with 15 brave souls leaving Wesley House (501 Sixth St, B’klyn) at 7:00 AM on October 8th 2017. One of the 15 was 8 year old Sowazi (Waz) Datillo, the youngest walker ever to join us. We headed to Flatbush Avenue and then to the Brooklyn Bridge. The weather was warm but wet. By the time we reached the first stop in the financial district of Manhattan, we were a little water logged. We met up with Ed Casey there.
All of us realized that we would eventually go home and dry out; not true for the homeless.
Then we prepared for the second leg of the journey along the east side of Manhattan. Dr Jayakummar and her group of friends made an excellent go of it. Lorna, Kathy, Latisha, Paris, Xenia, Dianne, Donna, Tariq, and the two Michaels rounded out the troupe.
Most of us made it to lunch in sight of the Queensboro Bridge and we were feelin’ groovy.
After lunch, we crossed to Queens and proceeded to trek back through Hunter’s Point and Long Island City to Brooklyn for a refreshment stop in chic Williamsburg. A few of us dropped out but eventually the remainder of the intrepid group made it back to Wesley House.
Jody for The Sleeping Bag Project NYC
The Walk for Warmth is always scheduled for the Sunday before Columbus Day. By then, the summer heat has dissipated and the weather is usually nice for a long walk. About 20 to 25 people were scheduled to make the 20 mile trip. However, this year Hurricane Matthew reached out and touched us. The weather was wet and windy with a promise of clearer skies in the late morning.
As the walk is the main fundraiser for The Sleeping Bag Project NYC, eleven intrepid souls braved the elements and made the first leg of the trek. With rain gear and an occasional umbrella the group walked past a virtually empty Brooklyn Bridge and stopped at the Starbucks on West Broadway.
A twelfth soul joined us there and we left to walk the West Side Greenway with hopes of nicer weather. Matthew had other plans for us. The rain and wind worsened and we dragged ourselves into The Boat Basin Café on 79th St. We were wet and cold by now and despite portable heaters we could not really warm up.
A decision was made to shorten the walk. We walked down to Times Square and took a train to Barclay Center and then walked back to our starting point. We only did a little more than 15 miles of the planned 20 miles but …
We could end our misery – the homeless cannot!
We could get out of the weather – the homeless cannot!
I cannot thank the participants of the walk enough. You all showed real heart.
I cannot thank the people who donated money enough.
Matthew touched us! We can touch those who are less fortunate than we are.
Jody Yarmush for The Sleeping Bag Project NYC
On Wednesday, August 24th 2016 New York City hit a record 59,373 people in shelters overseen by the Department of Homeless Services.