Everyone knows the old adage that to better understand someone, you need to walk a mile in his or her shoes. At the end of this past summer, a Havertown native put that saying to the test and multiplied it by 150, trekking on foot from the Philadelphia Sports Club in St. Davids to New York City, all to raise awareness and relief funds for local homeless families.
This valiant hiker is Sean Guiney, the 43-year-old brain behind the Kids and Hope Foundation, a Wayne-based organization that raises money to provide food, water and shelter for poor families in the Philadelphia area, including parts of New Jersey and Delaware.
Guiney embarked on his journey on Aug. 1 at 9 a.m. His plan was to walk 300 miles of a there-and-back voyage throughout August, stopping at local homeless shelters and makeshift camps for homeless families. But, just before reaching New York, he sprained his ankle and surrendered the return trip. Despite this, Guiney feels he successfully worked toward his mission.
“I wanted to create awareness for the Kids and Hope effort. I wanted to see if people knew about homeless children and people in the area—and 99 percent of the people I talked to had no idea,” he says.
Supporters of Kids and Hope lent a hand to Guiney’s initiative by collectively donating $3,100, all of which directly benefits homeless children and their families. Still, that number falls far from Guiney’s initial goal of $10,000. And, while he reflects disappointment at the underwhelming response to his “300 in 30” event, he remains optimistic about the future of Kids and Hope, with one of his ultimate goals being to open a wellness center for the people served by the organization. He envisions “a place for children and families to go and stay that feels safe and can supply them with the things they need. People need a place of connection, a place to feel complete,” he says.
Guiney is promoting many ways to help. Foremost is spreading the word about the dearth of local affordable housing and the prevalence of homelessness. Secondly, check out the “Items Needed” page on the organization’s website below, which includes requests for essentials like food, water, backpacks and school supplies.
What’s Guiney’s next mission? Another awareness walk from Newport News, Va., back to Wayne.
To view his progress and learn more about the organization, visit kidsandhope.org.