Hike for SHELTER on Oct. 18

Around Alamo: Mount Diablo hike against homelessness coming up
By Caterina Mellinger Columnist

Time with family and friends is one of life's pleasures. And when that special time together involves not only an outdoor activity but also helping the homeless, it's a double bonus that benefits body and soul.

Mark your calendars for the sixth annual Hike for SHELTER on Oct. 18 at Mount Diablo State Park in the Macedo Ranch Staging Area. The hiking event helps raise funds and awareness to help end homelessness in our county, and this day is all about fun for everyone of all ages and athletic abilities all sharing the same goal.

Hikers will be able to choose among four trails to match their level of fitness, and all participants will enjoy a wonderful celebration afterward with a catered lunch, music, fundraising prizes, commemorative T-shirts and guest speakers. Working on the event is SHELTER Inc. hike coordinator Chris Flitter, who is excited about this day of hiking on Mount Diablo.

"Hike for SHELTER is one of the few events in the Bay Area where you can give back to your community, get some exercise outdoors and spend quality time with your family and friends. It is definitely a fun and uplifting event," said Flitter, who said this year's event will include a past participant from SHELTER Inc. who used to be homeless and is now employed and living in her own apartment with her children. "Hearing the stories firsthand from the people we serve is one of the most inspiring parts of the day and definitely one of the most memorable from year to year," she added.


This will be the fourth year the Johansson family, of Alamo, has participated in Hike for SHELTER, and they are once again looking forward to a great way to spend the day together, all for a good cause.

"Our entire family enjoys everything about the event, and we like to spread the word and raise money for this incredible organization," said Kent Johansson, who participates with wife Kristen and children Kendall, 12 and Kandace, 10. "We enjoy hiking on beautiful Mount Diablo, meeting new people, being treated to a great lunch and ending with inspiring presentation from someone who has turned their life around thanks to SHELTER Inc.," added Johansson.

As a volunteer for the past two years, Alamo resident Louise Evenson and her husband, Paul, were assigned to be positioned near the summit to welcome participants.

"We posted signs along the hiking path to encourage the summit hikers and to remind them that every step they took was a step toward ending homelessness in our county," said Evenson, who last year as a volunteer encouraged 12 people to hike in the event. This year she is joining their team to hike.

"Hike for SHELTER is a very well organized fundraising event for SHELTER Inc. Every detail is coordinated at base, and hikers comment on how well our staff and volunteers anticipate what is needed for hikers and how much fun they have participating," she added.

To find out more about Hike for SHELTER and to register for the event, go to www.shelterhike.org. To learn more about the organization and other opportunities to help end homelessness in Contra Costa County, go to www.shelterinc.org.


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