Join us for the COTS Walk
BURLINGTON – The 28th Annual COTS Walk kicks off Sunday, May 7, with thousands of origami butterflies to celebrate the new beginnings made possible through your support of COTS as we work together to end homelessness: Inspire hope. Empower transformation.
Guests at the COTS Daystation, children staying in COTS family shelter, students, volunteers, supporters, and staff are busy folding butterflies – and the COTS’ offices are beginning to overflow with buckets of butterflies that will be displayed at the COTS Walk and in 95 North Avenue. The Daystation guests have been especially proud to participate, as they have said this is something beautiful they can make as a gift to the new building.
This year, walkers will be among the first to see COTS newly renovated facility at 95 North Avenue, which includes the new permanent home for the Daystation program (COTS’ daytime drop-in center), family and single adult services, and 14 new affordable apartments for people who are homeless or at risk of being homeless.
The COTS Walk is a 3.5-mile trek around downtown Burlington starting from Battery Park, following the route a person who is homeless or at risk of becoming homeless might travel to receive shelter and services. The Walk – COTS’ largest single-day fundraiser – is a critical part of the organization’s overall fundraising for the year. This year’s fundraising event goal is $200,000. Through the support of generous sponsors, all money raised by walkers goes directly to services. About 50 percent of COTS’ annual operating budget comes directly from community support.
The COTS Walk is also the one day of the year that the nationally recognized nonprofit opens its programs to the community so people can see how their donations make a difference. COTS serves about 2,600 people annually and is the largest provider for people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless in Vermont.
Register today: https://www.classy.org/events/-/e115384 . For the first 100 people to register, Darn Tough will donate one pair of socks to COTS for each person who registers.
More than 2,000 walkers of all ages, from schools, social and religious organizations, businesses and neighborhoods, participate. About 200 volunteers help make it happen, too. The family-friendly event includes the Lake Monsters’ Champ, children’s activities, face painting, music by the Dixie Six, and free Ben & Jerry’s ice cream for walkers. (A shorter route is available, particularly designed for families with young children.)
Check-in begins at 1 p.m.; the walk begins at 2 p.m. Walk-ins are welcome. The Walk itself takes about an hour. There is no minimum fundraising required for participation. However, youth walkers who raise $75 or more receive a COTS Walk T-shirt; adult walkers (age 16+) who raise $150 or more get a T-shirt. This year’s T-shirt is designed by Burlington cartoonist Rachel Lindsay.
Walkers who elect to go the extra mile by taking the “challenge” and pledging to raise $1,000 will have their donations matched by a Challenge Grant from an anonymous donor. Challenge Walkers receive a water bottle at the Walk and special recognition at the COTS Annual Meeting in the fall.
Volunteers are needed, too. If you are interested, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Learn more at www.cotsonline.org or call (802) 864-7402.