Hope’s Corner is hosting its annual 5K event virtually this month, unshaken in its battle against homelessness and economic inequality despite the pandemic’s restrictions.
The fundraiser centers around a theme of fives: Alongside the 5K itself, participants are asked to donate $5 and recruit five other people to join, hence the name “Five by Five by Five for Hope.”
The event aims at fundraising for the Mountain View–based nonprofit’s key initiatives, which include providing meals, showers and other basic necessities to the community’s homeless and low-income populations — demographics that have grown since the pandemic began.
Participants are able to complete the 5K through any mode of exercise, including running, skateboarding and even kayaking, later reporting their participation on the Five by Five by Five website. Creativity is certainly encouraged: In last year’s event, one set of participants ran a trail spelling hope, while another rollerbladed backward.
“It’s just a fun kind of thing, and the idea is to recruit other people to do it with you so it becomes kind of a group effort and hopefully takes off and expands from there,” Hope’s Corner Board Member Mike Hacker said.
Last year’s 5K was also virtual, but turnout was less than the group had hoped at around 100 participants, Hacker said. The organizers hope that the extra year of experience and more participation in the event will help them surpass the $10,000–$12,000 that they raised last year, he added.
Run almost entirely by volunteers, Hope’s Corner is able to funnel the vast majority of funds directly into its core programs.
“Virtually all the money goes towards food items, supplies, bicycles, other items like clothing and the like,” said Phil Marcoux, a member of the Hope’s Corner board and a participant in previous events.
But money isn’t the only motivator behind the event. The Five by Five by Five is also part of Hope’s Corner’s effort to build a sense of community for those who have lost their homes. Hacker said the organization hopes to bring together all parts of the community through encouraging an appearance from the Mountain View mayor at last year’s event and having new collaborations with fire and police departments, as well as myriad local businesses.
Before the move online, Hope’s Corner’s 5K began as the Tour de Hope, named after the famed Tour de France. Participants met at the YMCA and competed on stationary bikes, and the event saw high levels of participation.
Following reduced risks of transmitting COVID-19 and laxened restrictions, Hope’s Corner has gradually begun reopening some of the programs it was forced to put on pause, including its showers. But while things have yet to completely return to normalcy, Hope’s Corner is continuing to use events like the 5K to bring awareness and resources to its cause.
“Just the fact that they are doing something healthy is great,” Marcoux said of participants. “And the fact that they’re doing something good for local people in our society, I think, just adds to the rewards. And the excitement as well, you know, it gives them an extra boost of endorphins in what they’re doing.”
Entries for the 5K close on July 5. Register before then at The 5K website.
Tuesday, June 22: This article was updated to more accurately reflect the details of the 5K.