COTS Walk this Sunday works to end homelessness among children

NEWS RELEASE — COTS
April 30, 2013

CONTACT:
Becky Holt, COTS director of development & communications
(802) 540-3084, Ext. 204; [email protected]

Annual event raises money, awareness about families, individual facing homelessness

BURLINGTON — The weather forecast for Sunday is warm and positive, with a temperature of 75 degrees. The possibility of a scattered shower won’t dampen COTS’ enthusiasm for our 24th Annual COTS Walk and the culmination of our 30th Anniversary celebration.

The COTS Walk kicks off at 2 p.m. Sunday, May 5. The fundraiser is a 3-mile trek around downtown Burlington starting from Battery Park, following the route a person who is homeless or at risk of becoming homeless might travel to receive shelter and services. This is the one day of the year that the nationally recognized nonprofit opens its programs to the community so people can see how their donations make a difference. COTS is the largest provider for people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless in Vermont. During a week in February, COTS provided emergency shelter for 84 people each night, many of them children.

The Walk aims to elevate awareness, celebrate the community’s generous support and raise money to support services. This year’s goal is to raise $175,000.

The Walk – our largest single-day fundraiser — is a critical part of our overall fundraising for the year. Through the support of generous sponsorships, all money raised by walkers goes directly to services. About 50 percent of COTS’ annual operating budget comes directly from community support.

Up to 1,500 walkers of all ages, from schools, social and religious organizations, businesses and neighborhoods, participate. About 200 volunteers help make it happen, too. The family-friendly event includes children’s activities, face painting, music by The Willoughbys and the Dixie Six, and free Ben & Jerry’s ice cream for walkers.

Some other cool things to catch:

· A Starbucks Coffee Stop with Planet 96.7 will be at the Main Street Family Shelter, which offers emergency shelter for 10 families.

· Green Mountain Chorus’ Barbershop Quartet will serenade visitors to the COTS’ interim Daystation, our daytime shelter, hosted by First United Methodist Church at their parsonage.

· The University of Vermont’s mascot, the Rally Cat, will cheer walkers on at the final stop of the Walk, 95 North Ave., which houses our successful homelessness prevention program, the COTS Housing Resource Center, and our family services.

· Along the route, Vermont musicians featured on the new CD for COTS, Harmonies for Humanity, will offer acoustic performances to inspire walkers.

Walkers can elect to go the extra mile by taking the “challenge” and pledging to raise $1,000, as individuals or teams. A challenge grant matches money raised by these walkers, up to $15,000. Challenge Walkers also receive special recognition at the COTS annual meeting.

COTS serves the homeless and at-risk of becoming homeless in our community. In 2012, that included 117 families and 221 individuals in emergency shelter. COTS also provided support and services to 191 families, including those served in shelter and in the community, and 235 individuals. Additionally, 926 adults – an average of 48 people a day – used the Daystation, the only drop-in center for homeless adults in Chittenden County. With the help of volunteers, COTS served a noontime meal all 365 days.

COTS would like to thank our generous sponsors:

· 30th anniversary Presenting Sponsor: REMN

· 30th anniversary Event Sponsor: National Life Group

· 30th anniversary Emerald Sponsors: Citizens Bank and KeyBank
•Community Sponsors: Wright & Morrissey; Pomerleau Real Estate; Duncan*Wisniewski
•Media Sponsors: Free Press Media; Star 92.9 and the Planet 96.7; WCAX-TV
•Route Sponsors: Darn Tough, Dealer.com, Logic Supply, HUBER + SUHNER, The Lodge at Otter Creek & The Lodge at Shelburne Bay, Stephen & Burns, MyWebGrocer
•Site Sponsors: Ben & Jerry’s, BlueCross BlueShield, Casella Waste Management, City Market, Efficiency Vermont, Parlato Productions, Vermont Tent Co., Northwestern Board of Realtors
•T-shirt Sponsors: Dinse, Knapp & McAndrew; Fletcher Allen Healthcare; Gardener’s Supply Co.; Northeast Delta Dental; Redstone; Starbucks; Queen City Printers; Vermont Energy Investment Corporation.

How to participate: Register online at www.cotsonline.org or call (802) 864-7402 for more information. Check-in begins at 1 p.m. Sunday. Walk-ins are welcome, and there is no minimum fundraising goal for participation. The Walk generally takes about an hour to complete.

Founded in 1982, COTS provides emergency shelter to homeless families and individuals, homelessness prevention, case-management and referral services to those who are homeless or marginally housed, and permanent housing to low-income families and individuals.

Press Release

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