We hardly ever think about the distances we walk unless we are doing something special like visiting a theme park or playing a round of golf.
An average visitor to Disney World walks over 8 miles per day. A golfer walking 18 holes will typically cover 5 miles in an afternoon. If you rent a hotel room in Times Square to see the sights of New York, you’ll probably walk at least 4 miles each day.
An average person can walk a half-mile in under 15 minutes. That’s such a short amount of time spread out over a day, that the distance seems insignificant.
But there’s a group of people, right here in Huntsville, who walk a half-mile every day that connects them to resources and hope for the future.
First Stop’s Strategic Location
For over 14 years, First Stop has supported, encouraged, and provided aid and supplies to almost 100 members of Huntsville’s homeless community each day. Nearly all of these people arrive at First Stop’s campus on foot.
The physical location of First Stop, while only half a mile from the bustling restaurants and entertainment venues of Campus 805, is also roughly a half-mile away from many of Huntsville’s homeless camps.
The physical location of First Stop’s campus is important and intentional.
Text Block: “As we grow our services and programs, there have been times when we’ve considered opportunities to move or build a facility in a different location,” said Jennifer Geist, First Stop’s Executive Director. “But we want to stay at our location on Stokes Street. This is a perfect location to both conveniently serve the homeless, as well as safely host volunteers and those that want to help this community.”
Physical proximity matters more than we realize to an organization like First Stop, whose main priority is to serve the homeless. Each week, at least 5 trained Outreach Teams depart from First Stop with supplies to visit the camps. Having ongoing, frequent interaction allows First Stop to build strong relationships, understand the camp conditions, and build strategies to provide lasting help.
A Well-Worn Path
There is a clearly well-worn footpath leading to First Stop across the lot adjacent to the campus (you can see an aerial view of this path here – link to video/or embed the video in the blog post). That path is so distinct because it’s walked over 100 times each day.
Practically, the path helps trained volunteers and caseworkers encounter the homeless on a daily basis. It connects people from all different walks of life together. And, for many, it leads to a new, sustainable life.
Overall, it symbolizes trust…trust that First Stop diligently built and continues to build with the homeless community on a daily basis.
Help Us Continue to Build that Trust
If you want to be part of a mission that works, a sustainable solution for the homeless people of Huntsville, consider giving First Stop a one-time or recurring financial gift. This is the most direct and impactful way to provide unique resources to each individual without delay!