By Melanie Patterson
North Jefferson News
An event next month will support the thousands of children in Alabama who are in foster care or were adopted from foster care.
The “Walk Me Home ... to the place I belong” 5K will be held Nov. 24, 9-11 a.m. in Gardendale. The walk starts and ends at Buffalo Wild Wings.
“We want to make people understand (the need) is right here at home,” said Tracy Hacker of Gardendale, who spoke at a recent Gardendale City Council about the 5K along with Buddy Hooper with Alabama Foster and Adoptive Parent Association.
Hacker and her family have housed 34 foster children in the past six and one-half years, adopting two of them.
“All 34 of them lived within 30 minutes of Gardendale,” Hacker said. “They need somebody to love them, although it’s a hard process (when they go home).”
Proceeds from the event will provide scholarships for foster and adopted children, according to Hooper.
“This is a way to give back to foster children,” he said.
Hacker said that in addition to raising funds, she hopes the event educates people about the need for foster parents.
“Hopefully, it will touch somebody’s heart to open their home to a foster child,” she said.
There are more than 400,000 children in foster care in the United States, including about 5,000 in Alabama.
This is the sixth nationwide Walk Me Home event.
The cost to participate is $10 for adults; children ages 18 and younger walk for free.
The goal is to raise $20,000.
Sponsors are also needed at four levels: Platinum, $2,000 or more; gold, $1,000; silver, $500; and bronze, $100. Sponsors names and logis will be put onto all promotional materials.
There will be be face painting, games for children, booths from foster and adoption agencies, and more.
Participants can register online at www.walkmehome.org.
For more information, call Hooper at (256) 507-3273 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.