Annual fundraising hike to help homeless find jobs takes on new look

“A” Mountain in downtown Tempe is among venues participants may use in the annual St. Joseph the Worker’s Hike for the Homeless fundraiser on March 27. –Arizona State University photo

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St. Joseph the Worker, a Valley non-profit that helps homeless people find good jobs, kicks off its annual Hike for the Homeless fundraiser Saturday, March 27.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the campaign will look a bit different this year. Instead of hosting the hike at McDowell Mountain Regional Park as in years past, SJW is inviting all participants to hike any location of their choice.

That includes Tempe “A” Mountain or the trail that snakes around Tempe Town Lake.

Proceeds from the hike will directly fund SJW’s mission to help those experiencing poverty, homelessness or crisis find work and regain stability for their families.

Brent Downs, executive director of SJW, experienced homelessness himself. The trauma of living on the streets—of being beaten, robbed, and having things thrown at him—remains. Downs is passionate about helping people realize their potential and regain their self-worth.

“Last year, Hike for the Homeless helped St. Joseph the Worker put 2,412 people back to work,” Downs said. “By supporting this event, you’re empowering individuals who are experiencing hardship to become self-sufficient through quality employment, allowing them to turn their lives around. Although we will miss hiking alongside everyone on March 27, we have worked hard to make sure the day is as fun as always.”

The 2021 Hike for the Homeless will add an Adventure Hunt, providing interaction within and across teams, which will work together to hunt and photograph as many items on the list as possible and post the photos on Facebook.

A leaderboard will track teams and encourage friendly competition.

All hike registrants will be entered into a drawing to win a vacation to Mexico and anyone who registers by Sunday, March 21, will receive a Hike for the Homeless souvenir.

Trophies will be awarded for Most Charitable Team, Most Adventurous Team, Most Spirited Team and Coolest Team Mascot.

SJW’s focus is on connecting job seekers to jobs by reducing or eliminating barriers to employment. The organization provides one-on-one support, computer and internet access, professional clothing, resume development, mock interviews, financial coaching, certification and licensure fees, tools, safety equipment, and the transportation needed to obtain and sustain employment.

Information: or email bbell@



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