Upcoming Trick or Trot Run raises money for homeless shelter

The fifth annual Milford Trick or Trot 5K Run/Walk fund-raiser for the homeless and hungry will be held on Saturday, Oct. 29, at 9 a.m. at Lisman Landing in downtown Milford.

Facing funding cuts from the state, coupled with an increase in demand for services, Beth El Homeless Shelter and Soup Kitchen representatives are hoping for a good turnout.

Last year, the event brought in more than $10,000, said Beth El Executive Director Toni Dolan. Since there are only two major fund-raisers each year for the shelter, that figure is an important one.

According to Dolan, the shelter saw a 5.75% reduction in state funds for this current year, which represents about $13,000.

With state budget woes, Dolan said, she isn’t pointing any fingers of blame. The Beth El budget is about $800,000, which covers salaries for caseworkers and others who work at the shelter and the soup kitchen, plus overhead, utilities and maintenance. Funding comes from the city of Milford, the United Way and the state, and through grant writing.

But demand is up and services are stretched, she said. The 34-bed facility is most often filled to capacity. People who can’t be housed here, or at one of the New Haven shelters that are part of the Coordinated Access Network of Greater New Haven, go on a waiting list and in most cases remain homeless until a bed can be found.

Dolan said the economy is the reason for the increased need for services. Referring to the ALICE report generated in recent years by the United Way, she said there are many people who are working low-paying jobs who find themselves homeless after a major expense, like an illness.

ALICE, a United Way acronym that stands for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed, represents the growing number of individuals and families who are working but are unable to afford the basic necessities of housing, food, child care, health care, and transportation.

“One crisis does it, because they’re so close to the edge,” Dolan said.

Last year saw 350 people sign up for the Trick or Trot Run to help raise money for the shelter.

This year’s run will take place Oct. 29, the same day as downtown Milford’s first Hall-O-Weekend, which will include a number of Halloween-themed events.

Registration for the Trick or Trot 5K begins at 7:30 a.m., a Kids Fun Run is at 8:45 and the race starts at 9. Participants who register in advance pay $25. Race day registration will be $30 per person.

All participants are asked to bring a non-perishable food donation for the Beth-El Center and to wear Halloween costumes. Best costume prizes will be awarded.

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

Heidi Voight, a former Miss Connecticut and morning anchor at NBC Connecticut, will be the master of ceremonies.

Post-race festivities will include refreshments and music performed by rock and blues band The Elwoods. To register for the race or for business sponsorship information, visit milfordtrickortrot.com.