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Homeless Walk through Historic Leesburg September 17
photoThe 2010 GSA Walk for Shelter kicked-off at Douglass School Pavilion on East Market Street in Leesburg with 283 men, women, students and children participating. The 1.2 mile walk continued through downtown Leesburg. In 2011, special family activities following the walk include a moon bounce, face painting, balloon animals, free grilled hot dogs, cold drinks and other family activities. Photo courtesy/ Lindsey Bledsoe
GSA to Host 7th Annual Homeless Walk Through Historic Leesburg, Virginia

"Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits" [Psalm 68:19].

Mark Your Calendars – Saturday September 17, 2011

Registration is at 9 am. Family activities are from 10 AM until 1 PM.

Douglass Community Center, 407 E. Market Street, Leesburg, Virginia

Call GSA at 703-724-1555 or visit on line at http://www.goodshepherdalliance.org

Join The Good Shepherd Alliance, Inc. (GSA) in our 7th Annual Walk for Shelter on September 17. Celebrate with us our 28th year in meeting the needs of homeless and indigent persons in the Loudoun Community.

See 2010 St. Davids' Episcopal Homeless Walk video.


The GSA held its first Walk for Shelter in Leesburg in October 2005. Back then, Loudoun did not have a clear awareness regarding homeless issues that existed in our communities. Most thought homelessness was a problem within Washington D.C. or in other less affluent counties. Today because of media attention, government support, local church and business participation and high school student involvement, more programs and services are available for the homeless and indigent population than ever before. In 2010, 283 people walked with GSA to include many children and teens which assisted in promoting awareness for homeless programs and services and to foster volunteerism in service. Previous walks drew 61, 35, 120, 138 and 243 registered walkers in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009 respectively.

Living in Northern Virginia, it's sometimes easy to forget that there are people living in this area who struggle without one of life's most basic necessities: affordable housing. This September, we here in Loudoun County will have the opportunity to be part of the solution to that problem. The GSA will be sponsoring the Walk for Shelter which will take participants through the historic section of Leesburg, Virginia. All proceeds will benefit the Loudoun homeless at the GSA shelters for single women, children and families located in Purcellville and North Leesburg.

Registration begins at 9 am at the Douglas Community Center pavilion with the Walk to begin at 10 am. Lunch and activities commence at 11 am. Opportunities abound to bring your friends and family. Public School and Home School groups are invited. Churches, youth pastors, Sunday school classes, civic organizations, MOMS Clubs, etc. are all invited. Bring a group from your business, school, church or neighborhood. Wear your company or church T-shirt or bring a company or church banner. We want to show our community that we care and raise support for homeless programs and services in Loudoun County.

Special family activities will take place following the walk to include an ice-pop for a donation booth, moon bounce, face-painting, balloon animals, and free grilled hot dogs, cold drinks and other family activities. Come and join us for a community event and be an advocate for those less fortunate. Registration is $20for adults, $15 for youth 10 to 18 and children under 10 are free.

We would like to ask you to consider sponsoring our Walk this year. Now is the time! Perhaps your support for the homeless and near-homeless in our community can come through a financial sponsorship, a booth at the event or through facilitating a group to walk with us. Walkathon registration documents are available online through the GSA website. Call today for more sponsorship opportunities.

GSA Executive Director Vickie Koth will provide an overview of the GSA programs: emergency and transitional housing, community outreach and the need for monetary and material donations to support the indigent and homeless population. Koth has recognized the great community support we receive as volunteers contribute food and supplies every week. "The GSA has a great need for financial sponsors; even as little as $5 per month does make a difference when many can participate, Koth explained. "It is well known that the 'bedrock' of any non-profit organization is often the smaller, but regular donor. Everyone can afford a small monthly gift and that is what makes a local community non-profit like GSA strong. As the needs of our community increase, our base of regular donors must also grow if we are to remain relevant. We are looking for those families who would join us as regular supporters," says Koth.

The GSA prays that all our small steps taken today would lead to larger steps toward helping the homeless tomorrow. We believe that each walker might be a voice for those whose voices are rarely heard. Many grandparents, parents and children will walk with GSA board members and staff. Parents have previously said that the walk provided an educational experience raising awareness about homelessness. The youth especially gained appreciation for the many blessings provided by their own families.

The GSA has a goal of registering 300 men, women and children to walk the 1.2 mile route commencing from Douglass School Pavilion on the corner of Sycolin Road and East Market Street. Going west on East Market to Loudoun Street, then on to King Street, through historic Leesburg, back to East Market, past the Loudoun Times Mirror, then over to Harrison Street past the Government Building and back to the Douglass School.


GSA is proud of its cooperative relationship with Loudoun County and Leesburg Town Government. GSA is grateful to the Leesburg Town Council, Leesburg Police and Parks and Recreation for their cooperation and coordination of this event.

God bless all.

Mark Gunderman can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

photoThe long line of walkers in 2007 stroll eastward on the last leg of the 1.2 mile walk back to the Douglass School Pavilion on the corner of Sycolin Road and East Market Street. The Good Shepherd Alliance welcomes all to participate. Please come out and walk with the GSA on Saturday, September 17. Photo courtesy/ Fernando Hernandez.

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