Hikers pose for a photo during the 2016 Hike for the Homeless (Photo courtesy of Becky Chapman)

The reasons people hike are almost as numerous as the people who benefit from their registration fee.

Well, maybe not a close match. It’s hard to come up with more than 3,400 unique reasons Catholic, community and civic groups from across the Valley support the annual Hike for the Homeless. That’s how many clients gained quality employment with the help of St. Joseph the Worker in its latest annual figures.

Still, hikers find various sources of motivation to take a 1.5-mile or 4.5-mile path during the annual Hike for the Homeless with the next chance being March 4. Parishioners at St. Patrick in Scottsdale shared several reasons when St. Joseph the Worker brought its mobile unit to church earlier this month.

Ron Myers, St. Patrick’s team leader for three years, has hiked several before that. He often takes the long trail with his family because his heart is close to the cause. Myers also serves on André House’s board of directors and has volunteered there for 30 years. St. Joseph the Worker was born out of the ongoing need to help homeless guests at André House break the cycle through meaningful employment.

“The people I see every Wednesday drive me to be involved in solutions,” Myer said. His André House work often involved preparing “potatoes André” behind the scenes, serving hot dogs and interacting with guests.

Hike for the Homeless

supporting job-seeking clients through St. Joseph the Worker

When: 8:30 a.m. March 4 (same day as Desert Nun Run)

Where: McDowell Mountain Regional Park
Satellite hike at Thunderbird Conservation Park in Glendale

Info: hikeforthehomeless.og
(602) 223-3468

St. Patrick hikers raised $12,000 last year and is currently past the $10,000 mark and in first place. Blessed Sacrament Parish in Scottsdale is also coordinating a team. Both are supporting the main hike at McDowell Mountain Regional Park, also in Scottsdale.

Hikers from Xavier College Preparatory — both alumnae and students — often hike while helping with registration and check in. A team of Brophy students usually hike last in order to clean up the trail.

St. Joseph the Worker helped parishioners at St. Thomas More coordinate a simultaneous satellite hike on the other side of the Valley. It will be held at Thunderbird Conservation Park in Glendale. The closer location is allowing the parish’s junior high ministry to support the effort. At last check, about 40 youth will hike alongside adults.

Supporters of the Hike for the Homeless benefiting St. Joseph the Worker clients can hike the 1.5-mile or 4.5-mile trail. (Photo courtesy of Becky Chapman)

St. Thomas More also holds a regular clothing drive for St. Joseph the Worker. Clients are generally homeless, low-income or just getting out of jail and therefore are in constant need of interview and work apparel and tools. Gift cards for lunch breaks once employed but before the first paycheck plus bus passes to get to an interview or job site also contribute to operating expenses.

“The staff at SJW hold a special place in my heart for their dedication and hard work done in order to give a hand up to people who just need some help getting back into the work force,” explained Anne Marie Jauch, a St. Thomas More parishioner who coordinates the clothing drive. “Clients are treated with respect and compassion as the staff and volunteers help them with the process of finding a job.”

(Photo courtesy of Becky Chapman)