SPAR hosting virtual fun run to benefit the Providence House

SPAR hosting virtual fun run to benefit the Providence House
January marks the start of Poverty in America Awareness Month, and SPAR is making sure one of the leading local organizations working with impoverished families receives a financial boost. (Source: None)

SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - As 2021 arrives, January marks the start of Poverty in America Awareness Month. Homelessness is an issue affecting thousands of people across Louisiana on a daily basis and hits close to home in Northwest Louisiana.

According to the National Alliance To End Homelessness, around 375 people on any given night are homeless in the Shreveport-Bossier area.

To shine a light on poverty in Shreveport-Bossier, a situation only exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, Shreveport Public Assembly and Recreation (SPAR) is hosting a virtual fun run to benefit one of the leading organizations in the area which combats homelessness: the Providence House.

Verni Howard, executive director of the Providence House, said she is frequently astonished by the benevolence of the community’s backing for her nonprofit.

“I am always overwhelmed by the gratitude of the community, I know nobody is obligated to do a single thing for you,” she said. “So, when anybody comes and says, ‘hey, we want to help further your mission,’ I am always overwhelmed - there are so many organizations in Northwest Louisiana that would be deserving.”

Howard explained that 77 cents of every dollar donated to the over three decade old organization fuels programs which help equip families with resources to be fully functioning.

“We take one dollar and we stretch it a long way to make sure our families are healthy mentally, emotionally, financially and self-sufficient long term,” Howard said.

To date, the Providence House has aided 657 adults and 1,317 children since opening its doors in 1988, according to the Providence House website. The organization receives 75 new inquiries monthly from families with children seeking shelter.

The run is free to register, but donations to the Providence House are encouraged and can be made here. People of all ages can sign-up for the 1K, 5K, 10K or half marathon, but participants are encouraged to practice social distancing when completing the run.

The Virtual Poverty in America Fun Run is taking place until January 31.

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