Walk helps to raise funds for local nonprofits

By Monroe Roark
Times Correspondent

About 100 walkers came out for an unusual fundraiser that resulted in a few more blisters than normal - but for a special reason.

Two walkers take a break at last Saturday’s Walk A Mile in Our Shoes event which raised around $7,000 for H.O.P.E. Park and Our World. Photo by Donny Cotten

The “Walk A Mile in Our Shoes” event last Saturday in downtown McDonough was unique in that all of the male participants were required to wear high heels. It was the organizers’ way of letting them experience firsthand what so many moms deal with every week while juggling their other regular tasks.

The walkers registered at Henry County High School and began their 1.2-mile trek at the Board of Education central office. A number of officials including members of the McDonough City Council and the county’s state legislative delegation took part. Many of the participants were encouraged to do so via social media by their friends. The walk was free and each walker was asked to garner at least $25 in sponsorships.

Along the way they encountered “block challenges” with mothers of special-needs children on hand to help them “understand what multi-tasking is all about.” These were tasks such as pushing a stroller, carrying a diaper bag and toting a bag of groceries while in heels.

Prizes were awarded for participants’ shoes and outfits as well as the most money raised and best participation by a business.

Lori Harris, a spokesperson for the event, said Monday that about $7,000 in pledges was raised by the time of the event with more to come, and about $2,000 more in sponsorships. Organizers expect more than $10,000 in all.

“The men were awesome,” she said. “All of them had great attitudes.”

This was the first time an event like this had taken place in this area. Harris said the idea came in part from a walk in California whose focus was the fight against abuse of women in the military.

This time it’s about H.O.P.E. (Helping Other People Excel) and Our World, two nonprofits that have partnered to build a special-needs school and park in Henry County. The facility was originally slated for Clayton County, and Harris said all money raised previously will go to the Henry County project. Also, that money has been put in a trust, meaning that each donation will go toward whatever it was originally earmarked for.

“The support we’ve received here has been great,” said Harris.