BREMERTON — Kitsap Rescue Mission’s annual Heart for the Homeless 5K has a different spin on it this year.
Thanks in part to KRM’s new partnership with veteran support nonprofit Left Right Straight, the focus for this year’s event is helping to end veteran homelessness in Kitsap County.
“It’s been on our hearts for the past year,” said Alyssa Meeter, KRM’s development manager and event organizer, “how can we make this run better for our community and better for our homeless and better for our veterans?”
To that end, she said it’s become a bit more of a “fun-filled family event.”
Aside from the annual 5K, there will also be face painting, crafts and a kid-friendly obstacle course set up by the Bremerton Family YMCA. The event will take place 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. June 9 at Evergreen Park. Visit kitsaprescue.org/events for pre-registration and info.
Sean Delaire, founder of LRS, said KRM reached out to partner up for this event.
“They wanted to focus more on the veteran side of homelessness and directly impact that,” he said. “They felt that our missions kind of directly correlated … and they wanted us to be part of the event.”
Meeter said the funds raised would be split evenly between KRM and LRS.
For KRM, Meeter said the funds would go toward their general operations, “helping things like our day room and our overnight shelter or our meal sites.”
Delaire said, “We are working (with KRM) to create programs and create a veteran program … I really want to make sure before we roll out a program that it makes sense for Kitsap.”
Delaire said LRS is in the process of researching what is done in other areas to combat veteran homelessness to try and develop the best kind of program.
“It’s really frustrating, at least personally, to see veterans out on the streets and … not necessarily know where to go,” he said.
“I don’t want to see (anyone) homeless in Kitsap County. I want to start with the veteran community, get them off the street … if it works for them, then whatever program we develop that is successful (could translate). I would love to see a 0 percentage of homelessness in Kitsap County, then Washington state.”
Learn more at kitsapres cue.org/events.