By Mike Kinney
Hundreds of community members walked or ran through Richmond’s streets on Saturday as part of a unified effort to end homelessness and hunger.
It was the 32nd Annual GRIP Harmony Walk and 5K Race at Nicholl Park in Richmond.
Numerous community leaders such as Richmond Mayor Tom Butt and Supervisor John Gioia, attended the event, which began in the 1980s when members of various local faith organizations wanted to raise awareness about hunger. Employees from local businesses, including from annual event sponsor Chevron Richmond, also joined the important effort.
“I have been doing the GRIP Harmony Walk now for, I don’t know, maybe 15 years, maybe more,” Mayor Butt said. “When I first started it was about hunger. It was about people who weren’t getting enough to eat. They weren’t getting enough nutritious things to eat…but it’s gone a lot further now…it’s about shelter. It’s about mental health. It’s about substance abuse. Our homeless population in Richmond has continued to grow and grow and grow. This is about wraparound services for people. It’s no longer just about hunger.”