Saturday, November 05, 2011

Sartans for St. Martin’s Fun Run/Walk on November 13 in Albuquerque

Photo Courtesy of St. Martin's Hospitality Center
By Karen Navarro

As we begin the holiday season, our awareness of “the poorest of the poor,” the “homeless,” is heightened as each one of us looks for ways we can help out. One opportunity to make a real difference is to respond to this invitation to run, walk or cheer on event participants in a 5K Run/Walk (+ 1K kid run/walk) on Sunday, November 13th at 10:00 am at St. Pius X High School, 5301 St. Joseph’s Drive, NW, Albuquerque, NM 87120. This fun event has been organized by the Notre Dame Club of New Mexico (Fighting Irish) and the St. Pius X High School Cross Country Team (Sartans). 100% of the proceeds will go to St. Martin’s Hospitality Center, a large homeless services agency in Albuquerque that offers a drop-in center and behavioral health supportive housing programs for individuals and families who are homeless.

You can register on race day at St. Pius, or register online through the site or New Mexico Sports Online Entry fees for the 5K run/walk: $20 for 18-year-olds or over; $10 under 18 years of age; for the 1K kid run/walk: $10 (ages 12 and under). For more info, visit “Sartans for St. Martin’s” on Facebook, or contact Tom Mescall,, 765-5548.

Participants (and cheerleaders) are encouraged to bring donations for the 300-400+ homeless individuals who visit St. Martin’s Day Shelter each day: coats (large & extra-large sizes most needed), black or navy blue beanies, gloves & scarves, blankets & sleeping bags, backpacks, socks, men’s warm clothing & jeans (we have enough women’s), shampoo/conditioner.  Blog readers outside of the Albuquerque area can donate directly to St. Martin’s by clicking on the Donate button (PayPal) or other ways provided on the Donation page of our website, including mailing a check to: St. Martin’s Hospitality Center, Attn: Administration, P.O. Box 27258, Albuquerque, NM 87125; St. Martin’s is a 501(c)(3) non-profit agency

As I write this, I am listening to wonderful Irish music on KUNM’s “Folk Roots” while I sit at the computer sipping green mint tea, cozy inside our warm casita. Outside a storm is blowing through Albuquerque, with sleet, rain and “spitting” snow accompanied by sustained 30 mph winds gusting to 40 mph all morning. It is not sentimentalizing “the homeless” to be wondering what this must feel like to the thousands of men, women and children who are out and about right now on Albuquerque streets.

Each weekday in my office I hear more than one account by a homeless person voicing his or her anguish after being unable to sleep the night before because of being so cold, enduring the long hours huddled next to a building, in a camp, under a bridge or in a vehicle. When it rains overnight, those who sleep outside are likely to wake up with blankets and belongings soaked.

There is a false sense of complacency among those of us who are “housed” when we think that people are protected from “the elements” all day and night by staying in shelters. Even if there were enough shelter beds to accommodate everyone (the winter overflow shelters don’t open until November 15th — and the expected lows Nov. 5-12 will hover around 30º), the reality is that people have to leave the shelters early each morning to stand in the cold waiting for the day centers, clinics and other places to open. I sometimes think of this when my alarm jolts me awake at 6:45 am, and again in the late afternoon before the night shelters take people in. Maybe it’s just “Murphy’s Law," but in Albuquerque it always seems that these are the times of day we are most likely to experience the hardest falling precip and bone-chilling winds.

So I will be at the 5K fun run/walk and 1K kid run/walk on Sunday, November 13th, enthusiastically accepting donations of warm articles of clothing, coats, blankets, sleeping bags, and socks (a very prized possession!) Let me also extend the invitation year-round to drop off items at St. Martin’s during the hours we are open: Monday through Friday, 8:00 am to 2:00 pm, and Sundays, 7:30 to 10:00 am. Our street address is 1201 3rd St. NW, Albuquerque, NM 87102.

As postulated in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, basic human needs (food, shelter, clothing, etc.) are and always will be essential to address. Self-esteem and spiritual well-being are fed in no small part by meeting these needs. Also by looking each person in the eye whom you pass on the street and offering a simple warm greeting.

Thank you for any and all expressions of your compassionate heart!

Karen Navarro,
Client Advocate at St. Martin’s Hospitality Center,
and spouse of Carlos Navarro

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