- Faith & Family
Millions of people are concerned about the fate of orphans in devastated countries. People have responded by donating their money, time or resources to various charities that offer to support orphans in several different ways.
Thirty-one year old Barrett Keene decided to take a walk. Specifically, he decided to walk from Miami to San Francisco. All totaled, his cross-country trek is comprised of 3,475 miles. Keene decided to take his journey to raise money for the Global Orphan Project, Inc. an international orphan ministry based in Missouri that “mobilizes” local churches in poor communities to care for the neediest children in their communities.
“I love speaking to groups and connecting with people [and] walking is crazy enough that individuals and organizations often pause to say, “Why are you doing this?” explained Keene. ”During that moment, I share the realities millions of children are facing, what the Global Orphan Project is doing to serve them, and how we can get involved.
So far, the altruistic pedestrian has logged in over 1,200 miles and as of May 27th was traveling through St. Louis.
The Cornell University PhD student thought of the plan for his final research project. In the evenings, he spends the night at the homes of families and friends. Yet during the day he often is alone while he walks to his next destination.
But, “I have six hours or so a day to be in prayer and deep reflection on the sermons, talks, and literature I am listening to along the route,” Keene explained.
Fortunately, Keene did not start off alone in his journey. He is sponsored by LegacyChamp, an online social fitness network.
According to Gershon Blyden, the COO of LegacyChamp, “What we’ve done is paid the operational expenses for [Keene’s] walk from Miami to San Francisco.”
They also launched the “Go Walk America” campaign to allow people to donate to Keene’s campaign in two ways – fiscally and physically. Interested parties can donate funds directly through the website or have others to sponsor their individual efforts – per mile – to walk, bike or swim.
“A lot of times we don’t realize how much impact we can have on other people’s lives with relatively small cost,” Blyden explained. “Just by running, walking or swimming and logging in your miles you can create awareness and help raise money to go to these orphans and literally save lives.”
The fitness component of the awareness campaign also aligns perfectly with LegacyChamp’s purpose.
“LegacyChamp is about allowing people to achieve their fitness milestones within a motivating and engaging environment,” explained Blyden. “We do that by allowing people to identify goals, track and measure their workout statistics and train with like-minded fitness enthusiasts.”
For their ‘Go Walk America’ campaign, 100 percent of all proceeds will be used to buy school uniforms for children living in impoverished communities. So far, the campaign has raised over $15,000 in donations and people have logged in over 4,800 miles.
For more information about the campaign and to track Keene’s progress, visit www.legacychamp.com/gwa.
By Kaila Heard