Costumes encouraged at 5K to benefit Beth-El Center

MILFORD >> Agencies that serve the homeless are more dependent than ever on fundraisers such as the upcoming Trick or Trot 5k Run/Walk to benefit Beth-El Center, said agency Executive Director Toni Dolan.

“We’re doing more with less money,” Dolan said. “All of our missions are to serve these people, that’s why we’re here.”

Dolan said participation in the run/walk to help the homeless and hungry will be appreciated more than ever. The annual event, where costumes are optional, but encouraged, will be held Oct. 29 at Lisman Landing on the harbor.

Registration begins at 7:30 a.m., the Kids Fun Run is at 8:45 and the race starts at 9. Registration in advance is $25. Race day registration is $30.

Dolan said that while the Coordinated Access system has improved situations for veterans and other individuals being served, it also has required additional tasks for each agency in working toward ending chronic homelessness.

There also is an increased focus on families and youths, she said.

Dolan said there were 1,574 calls to 211 in September alone from those in need of housing.

Those are new people in the system, Dolan said, and there already is a shortage of beds statewide.

State budget cuts have translated not only into a need for more housing, but also more people coming into the Beth-El soup kitchen on New Haven Avenue, and more need for groceries, she said.

People in homeless situations or other types of need are not the stereotype of a raggedy-looking individual.

“That doesn’t identify who they are,” she said.

Dolan cited one example of a mother, 21, who is living at the shelter with her 18-month-old son, tirelessly working full-time to become independent and build a better life for her boy.

The woman, featured in the Beth-El Center newsletter, had very little emotional or financial support from her family, but is blossoming, and on her way to independence, the newsletter said.

Dolan said the Trick or Trot, aside from helping the homeless and hungry, is a fun time. All proceeds will go directly to serving clients, she said.

More than 300 people participated in the 5K last year.

Participants are encouraged to bring a nonperishable food donation for the Beth-El Center. Prizes will be awarded for the best costumes.

Post-race festivities will include refreshments and music by rock and blues band The Elwoods.

The 5K is sponsored by the law firm of Harlow, Adams, and Friedman, P.C., Sikorsky Credit Union, Mary Taylor Memorial United Methodist Church and lead car sponsor Bob’s Buick GMC.

To register for the race or for business sponsorship information, visit