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Group’s 16th annual walk for homeless men has new look

Interfaith Homeless Outreach Council event aims to lessen crowds

The Interfaith Homeless Outreach Council is preparing to host their 16th annual Walk for the Homeless on Feb. 27 at the Voorhees Town Center. Groups will walk at separate times to alleviate crowding and are also able to walk remotely. Featured here are participants from the 2021 walk. (Special to The Sun/The Sun)

The Interfaith Homeless Outreach Council will hold its 16th annual walk on Feb. 27 at the Town Center in Voorhees with crowd control in mind.

The event will take place throughout the afternoon, and rather than walkers taking off at one time, groups and individuals will select a specific time to begin.  Council secretary and board member Fred Astmann said that setup is scaled down compared with past years. 

Participants can walk either at home on their own time or in person for their selected start. The first group will begin at around 1:30 p.m. Those who choose to walk in person will make their laps around the mall.

Prior to COVID, Astmann said there would be anywhere from 200 to 400 walkers beginning at the same time, with entertainment the whole afternoon. Registration this year is $25 per person and includes a T-shirt. 

The Interfaith Homeless Outreach Council is a nonprofit made up of volunteers, one paid case manager and more than 40 participating churches and synagogues across Camden County that help homeless men find employment and housing through the council’s Homeless Hospitality Network and transitional housing program. 

While the nonprofit only shelters men, it supports children and families through Pack-a-Sack and Adopt-a-Box programs that deliver school supplies and personal-care items to people in need. Funds raised will allow the council to pay its case manager and offset other expenses.

The past two years have been challenging for the group, between the pandemic that shut down congregations and the partial care programs men participated in, to the 2019 loss of the council’s main transitional house at the former John Dambly house. 

While IHOC received a house that holds three people from St. Michael’s Lutheran Church, they are looking to expand since they had previously housed 10 to 15 people at the Dambly house.

“Right now, in COVID times, that’s been the focus of our fundraising – to try and get another house that we can use,” said Ruth Morganroth, the council’s executive director.

“If we can find a house to rent in the meantime, we could do that too,” she added. “That’s what we’re looking for.”

People and congregations interested in getting involved with the Interfaith Homeless Outreach Council can contact Morganroth at (856) 261-3464. Walk participants can register at the council’s website.


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