Local News and Stories

St. Vincent de Paul Juneau’s annual Friends of the Poor Walk

By Katie Benning

Howdy Pilgrim (I think John Wayne gets credit for that). What exactly does it mean to be a pilgrim anyway? Does it mean that you walked off the Mayflower onto Plymouth Rock in 1620, dressed in a wide-brimmed hat and Puritan clothing? Or did you have to have bumped along the Oregon Trail in a covered wagon in the 1800’s? Maybe endeavor to walk “The Way” of the pilgrim on the El Camino de Santiago for your pilgrimage to Compostela in Spain?

I believe that we are all pilgrims, whether we have ever ventured out or not. Sojourners on our earthly journeys as Christians, always looking toward and yearning for eternity. But there are sometimes when it helps to walk that walk physically, with friends and family at best, but sometimes we walk with strangers and new friends. Even better if we have a destination, a shared purpose, a direction to our pilgrim path. Years ago when I walked a portion of the El Camino with a dear friend, not only did we have each other to rely on, we had abundant access to guidebooks and small yellow scallop shells marking the path to follow. We also had many strangers along the way that helped us to stay on the right path. Sometimes we journeyed together for a time or shared a meal. Though we each were there to walk our path, together we were all pilgrims on “The Way.”

The Board and Staff of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul (SVdP) would like to invite you to walk a short pilgrim journey with us this year on the Friends of the Poor Walk as one of SVdP’s annual fundraisers. The walk this year will take place on Saturday, September 28th and will begin at the new SVdP Thrift Store location on Glacier Highway. Registration starts at 10:00 am, and the walk will begin at 11:00 am. The destination is the Community Room at the shelter on Teal Street, where we will gather for a small celebration and light lunch.

We are offering two routes this year. One route will follow Glacier Highway and turn right at Lyles’ on Jordan Avenue up to Teal Street and turn left. Another, longer route, will follow Glacier Highway out to the bike path parallel to Egan, turn at McDonald’s and proceed to Old Dairy Road and Crest Street to a right turn on Teal Street.

Donations are greatly needed and deeply appreciated. All collections help SVdP to provide direct aid for the poor. For example, $25 could provide a sleeping bag or tarp for someone who is homeless and sleeping outside this winter. $50 could purchase a bus pass. $100 provides a week of meals for a family. $1000 would go to help pave the parking lot at the Teal Street facility. Every little bit helps. Every person who walks along the path with us matters. And every prayer offered on behalf of those most in need in our community provides hope. Won’t you join us on this pilgrimage? We pray that you are richly blessed.

Donations may be made the day of the walk at the registration table; mailed to the St. Vincent de Paul office at 8617 Teal St. (please note FOP on the memo line) or online at: https://svdpjuneau.org/donate-now/ (note FOP on the memo line). Thank you!