'Help the Homeless' Mini-walk: High support, low turnout
The Georgetown Ministry Center prepares to rely more heavily on community-based mini-walks
While an abundant amount of community sponsorship and behind-the-scenes donations poured in during the weeks leading up to the mini-walk, Gunther Stern, the GMC's Executive Director, considered the event's attendance slightly underwhelming.
"Taking into consideration the amount of work that goes into an event like this, I'm a little disappointed with the turnout," Stern says.
The generous amount of donated food and beverages from local businesses had the Grace Church lawn filled with people in the early afternoon, what event coordinator Robin Jones thought to be the after Church crowd.
"Everyone in Georgetown is so quick to help the Ministry Center," asserts Jones, after the crowd dissolved to just volunteers who walked around surveying the leftover cupcakes and remaining coffee.
Among the tables of food offered to those who purchased tickets for the event, ranging from $20-$30, Whole Foods contributed trays of 100 sandwich wraps and pans of chicken nuggets, Georgetown Cupcake stacked their pink boxes full of 200 cupcakes and Starbucks donated coffee, tea and water.
Jones began the planning process for Sunday's event in early August, shortly after starting her work with the GMC.
"Given how many events the Ministry Center has, the community has been terrific about sponoring all of them," remarks Jones on the significant backing the GMC has within the Georgetown business community.
2011 is the last year mortgage lender Fannie Mae will sponsor the annual 'Help the Homeless Walk' held on the National Mall each November, of which the GMC participates. This will make the Ministry Center rely on the community-based walks more than they have in the past as to compensate for the support they will no longer have from Fannie Mae in 2012. Jones' focus is now ensuring the walks make more of an impact.
"The key is approaching a lot of these local businesses for sponsorship far enough in advance," Jones says, shortly after commenting on how many new businesses have cropped up in Georgetown.
Brooks Brothers, for example, plans for such sponsorships usually one year ahead, according to Jones, who approached the upscale clothing retailer for a potential 2012 GMC sponsorship.
Other notable sponsors for Sunday's Mini-walk include the Georgetown BID, Walker & Dunlop Real Estate and three "really large" anonymous donations (one for $60,000), among others.
The next community-based walks will be in conjunction with two Georgetown schools' Fall Festivals at the end of October. Stern encourgaes people interested in supporting the GMC to sign-up for a costume-friendly walk on Friday, October 28th at Hyde-Addison Elementary School or Monday, October 31st at Stoddert Elementary School.