Run For Shelter benefits homeless

LAWRENCEVILLE -- The fourth annual Run for Shelter 5K and Fun Run will take place Saturday at Tribble Mill Park. All proceeds benefit The Lawrenceville Salvation Army Home Sweet Home program, which provides transitional and permanent shelter for the homeless in Gwinnett.

Homelessness has become a more prominent issue in Gwinnett since 2008 when 9.8 percent were living in poverty, according to the Gwinnett Helpline. Foreclosures have increased from 4,000 in 2004 to more than 24,000 last year.

"I believe that as a society we are judged by how we treat our less fortunate; that all humanity deserves food, shelter and clothing. Only compassion can resolve and address this social issue," said Janet Russell, an elder at Fairview Presbyterian Church, one of the event's sponsors.

The run is organized through Home Sweet Home, a housing plan developed by the Lawrenceville Salvation Army. The cost for runners who enter on Friday is $20, and Saturday it will be $25. The Fun Run for children 10 and under is $10 pre-race and $15 on Saturday.

A barbecue station, community activities and music will follow the runs, which begin at 9 a.m. for the Fun Run and 9:30 a.m. for the 5K. Awards will be given to the fastest male and females, the overall master and the top three in each age group.

In addition to providing emergency housing, The Lawrenceville Salvation Army is also equipped "to offer financial education, case workers, home furnishings, food, transportation, employment skills and spiritual encouragement, all essential to confront the many components of homelessness," Russell said.