New Twist On Annual Habitat Walk For Housing

By Jennifer L. Warren

NEWBURGH – There is still walking, running and cycling. The stops along the way have remained. Its primary purposes have not wavered: Raising awareness and acting as an important fundraiser. However, this year’s Habitat for Humanity of Greater Newburgh’s Annual Walk for Housing is going virtual.

As with so many originally scheduled events involving large groups of people, the popular, critical Annual Walk, allowing participants up-close-and-personal views of the Habitat Homes and other integral landmarks, had to be rescheduled due to COVID-19. An exact date for the group/in-person walk remains in the works; however, in the meantime, a spring alternative,

“Virtual Walk for Housing,” is slated from Sunday, April 26- Sunday, May 10. Because so much work was already dedicated to the specifics of this year’s Walk and its purposes are so vital, the local Habitat team members decided to brainstorm ways they could still make it happen.

The result was a two week remote walk, each of the 14 days featuring a different stop pivotal to Habitat’s Newburgh-based organization. In many ways the event will still look the same, allowing Habitat to continue to build homes, communities and hope.

“The Annual Walk is a major advocacy event to bring attention to poverty and substandard housing in the City of Newburgh,” explained Matthew Arbolino, Executive Director of Habitat for Humanity of Greater Newburgh. “It further serves as a key part of our fundraising event’s schedule.

So, here is how this spring’s Walk will unfold. Participants will have the opportunity to walk, run, cycle and even hike in the safety of their homes, yards, or other safe, physically distant location. They will still have the special chance to see the same City of Newburgh “stops” via blog posts, containing detailed write-ups and photos, on Habitat’s website, they would have during the originally planned Walk. Following their activities, walkers, runners, cyclists and hikers, can post what they have accomplished on their fundraising page, sharing to social media or emailing to Habitat. Awards will also be available. The team logging the most miles/hours walked will get their name embroidered on the 2020 Walk for Housing Tee-shirt.

“We encourage people to complete the activities near their homes and share the miles they do on our website,” said Arbolino. “It’s a way we can still all really stay connected, which is so important during these times.”

Like so many others, Habitat for Humanity of Greater Newburgh is feeling the challenges of these unique days. The first of its organizations across the state to close down operations, the Newburgh locale moved fast to ensure they were following safe guidelines in the wake of COVID-19. Their ReStore and main office buildings shut down, as did their construction sites.

Despite their building efforts being deemed “essential,” they simply didn’t want to take any chances. However, their hard work continues remotely. Although they are unable to take applications for home ownership at this time, Habitat of Greater Newburgh is still offering community members the opportunity to buy houses. Their main priority remains serving local families in any way they can. Similar to their Walk adjustments, that crucial piece too has now been altered.

“We are focused on connecting with the community in any way we can: We have been donating masks and want to share our vehicles (have several pick-up trucks) as well as facilities if they are needed during this pandemic,” explained Arbolino. “These are scary times for everyone, and we are all on the same playing field. He added, “This is a great time to bolster partnerships as well as create new ones, and come up with creative ways to help other organizations in need.

For more information on the upcoming Virtual Walk, log onto:

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