This past weekend, The Center in Hollywood hosted its annual fundraiser, the Hollywood Hike to End Homelessness. All proceeds from the event will go directly to The Center, which provides a variety of services to people experiencing homelessness (PEH) and low-income individuals and families in the Hollywood area, including:
- On-site clinical service
- Transitional housing through Coordinated Entry System (CES)
- Community wellness program
- Intensive Case Management Services (ICMS)
- Mental health and substance abuse treatment
- Education and recreation programs
The hike didn’t begin officially until 9am, but volunteers from the community (including H4WRD’s Communications and Operations Director, Tim Davis) showed up as early as 6am in Griffith Park to begin setting up for the occasion. Alex Sato and Elyse Schwartz from The Center were on hand to supervise the operation, which included constructing a stage for speakers, cranking generators to provide power for the booths, and building the arch through which folks would begin and end their hike.
The volunteers were thrilled when Heather Knox and Josh Oliveros of Hollywood Coffee Shop, Obet & Del’s, showed up early to get their grinder and espresso machines up and running. The line at their booth was 20 volunteers long before the first cup of coffee had even been brewed!
Hikers began arriving at 7:30 to register for the hike, bobbing heads to the music DJ Herman Osorio from The Center was laying down. The mood was festive and upbeat, everyone clearly excited about the opportunity to get some exercise and enjoy the beautiful scenery on the Griffith Park hiking trail, all while helping make a difference in the lives of those experiencing homelessness in our community.
At 9am, The Center’s Executive Director, Nathan Sheets, welcomed the assembled, who by this point were stretched, caffeinated (thanks again, Heather and Josh!) and ready to hike! “It’s amazing to see so many new and old friends show up to help us out today,” Nathan shared. “Your generosity and commitment to helping end homelessness is what keeps The Center going!” And with that, the hikers were off.
We’re grateful Hollywood resident and ace photographer Keith Johnson was among the large group, and we have him to thank for the beautiful shots he captured of the day. We also have to thank the owners of Franklins Cafe, located right across Vermont Avenue from the trail head, for opening up their establishment for a fun, post-hike celebration. Final thanks go to The Center’s team for orchestrating the incredible event, and last but not least, to the community members whose generosity of spirit were matched only by their healthy, pumping hearts.
For those who didn’t get to attend the Homeless Hike, you can still check out what The Center is up to on their website, and make a donation if you’re so inclined: www.thecenterinhollywood.org.