Students host run/walk to help the homeless

Money raised from Woodcreek High School's 5K run/walk will benefit the Gathering Inn
By: Sena Christian, The Press Tribune
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Jake Haakenson will once again not be able to participate in the 5K run/walk he’s helping organize. He’ll be busy running the show, making sure everything goes as planned. And that’s OK with him. The Woodcreek High School senior just wants as many other people as possible to lace up their tennis shoes and sprint, jog or leisurely walk in the third annual fundraiser event. Proceeds from this year’s program benefit the Gathering Inn in Roseville. “(The organization) is local and we wanted to help a cause that’s local,” Haakenson said. “We like what it does for the community. And it’s a lot of fun and good exercise.” Members of Woodcreek High School’s National Honor Society organize the annual run/walk. The first year served as a fundraiser for Roseville Home Start. Last year, about 100 students, parents, teachers and community members participated — raising $1,200 for the Gathering Inn. The nonprofit organization relies heavily on the generous donations of others. About two-thirds of the organization’s $500,000 annual budget comes from private donations and fundraisers, said Executive Director Suzi deFosset. “(The run/walk) is especially exciting because we have a matching grant and Sutter (Roseville Medical Center) is matching dollar to dollar, so it makes these little fundraisers even more potent,” deFosset said. The Gathering Inn serves the area’s homeless population by offering shelter, counseling, access to Placer County medical and mental health screening services, substance abuse treatment programs, public school enrollment for children, vocational training and more. Homeless people have an opportunity to shower at the organization’s headquarters before going to an “inn” — or one of 60 local churches — for meals and a place to spend the night. A group of ministers formed the organization in 2004. “We’re all affected by homelessness, whether we’re living on the street or not,” deFosset said. James Geyer, Woodcreek High School senior and member of the National Honor Society, said his group makes a big impact at school and around the city. “Our run/walk means a lot to our group because we are directly influencing those in our community,” Geyer said. “Donating to the Gathering Inn supports a local charity and ensures that they can continue helping our homeless.” Sena Christian can be reached at ---------- What: Woodcreek High School’s National Honor Society 5K run/walk to benefit the Gathering Inn Where: Maidu Regional Park, 1550 Maidu Drive in Roseville When: Check-in at 9 a.m., race at 10 a.m. rain or shine Saturday, Nov. 6 Cost: $25 each, $20 for three or more sign-ups on the same check. Drop-ins on day of race are welcome, but no T-shirt will be provided. Mail registration money, name, telephone number, e-mail and T-shirt size to: Jon Smith, Woodcreek High School, 2551 Woodcreek Oaks Blvd., Roseville, CA 95747. Info: Call (916) 771-6565 ext. 4421