ECHO raised over $50,000, their goal to help support the local unhoused
ATASCADERO — Around 300 local residents headed out to the El Camino Homeless Organization’s (ECHO) transitional homeless shelter in Atascadero to participate in their 11th Annual Long Walk Home. The walk kicked off at 10 a.m. at ECHO and made its way through Sunken Gardens to City Hall and back to the starting point, ending with a to-go barbecue lunch starting at 11 a.m.
“We are so excited the community came out to show support for the unhoused in our community and the people that ECHO are serving,” said ECHO President and CEO Wendy Lewis.
The Long Walk Home was put together 11 years ago to bring awareness to the community of the steps that the unhoused and ECHO take together to get locals back into housing while also raising funds for the programs that ECHO provides to help individuals and families facing homelessness. This year, Long Walk Home raised over $50,000, which was the organization’s goal. The money will be used at both the Atascadero and Paso Robles ECHO locations.
“That money is used to support the shelter and all the resources we try to provide,” added Lewis. “It supports our case management program. It supports our programs to provide the meals and the showers. All those resources are supported from this event, or partially supported from this event, and it’s critical.”
The $35 registration fee included a to-go meal provided by Mark Miranda. He and his team are actually one of the meal teams at ECHO, and once a month, they make the same meal that folks took home at the shelter. Over the years, it’s become a tradition for him to duplicate the meal for Long Walk Home, including his famous barbecued chicken.
ECHO also partnered with Camp Ocean Pines this year, and they brought out some educational animals for people to interact with.
“It’s one of my favorite times of the year and events we do because it’s just so heartwarming to see how many people show up, and they’re truly here to advocate for those that sometimes don’t have people to advocate for them,” said Lewis of Long Walk Home. “It’s a great event, lots of community spirit.”
Lewis went on to say that some of the families currently staying at the Atascadero shelter joined in on the walk. One of the fathers pulled her aside to share how moved he was that so many people in the community cared about people who are in situations like his.
If you were not able to make it to the Long Walk Home event but would like to donate to ECHO, you can do so at: www.echoshelter.org/donate.
“The more [money] that’s raised, the more resources and help we can provide to the unhoused community,” added Lewis.
This year Long Walk Home had more sponsors than ever before. This year’s sponsors were:
Founding Sponsor: Howard Products, Inc.
Presenting Sponsors: Pacific Premier Bank, Astound Business Solutions by Digital West.
Silver Sponsors: Pacific Western Bank, Don & Elaine Witmer, County of San Luis Obispo.
Bronze Sponsors: Atascadero 76, Coast Hills Credit Union, Corvus Wealth Advisors, Gerber’s Automotive, Idler’s Home, North County Recycling, Precision Construction Services, Sesloc Federal Credit Union, SoCal Gas, Solarponics, Specialty Construction, Inc., Community West Bank.
In-Kind Sponsors: KSBY. Dimes Media.