PHOTOS BY CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / CRUSSELL@STARBULLETIN.COM
Anita Pelep walked along Farrington Highway in Nanakuli yesterday as part of a 10-day, 130-mile walk around the island to raise awareness and funds for the homeless in Hawaii.
Walk steps up homeless aid
A group is sponsoring a 10-day charity event around Oahu to raise funds and awareness
Homeless Mack Stahl kicked off his sandals yesterday and reclined his slender 6-foot-4-inch frame on a shaded platform at St. Rita Catholic Church in Nanakuli.
The 72-year-old drank a chilled juice after finishing day eight of a 10-day walk around Oahu to raise awareness of homelessness.
"I just like walking," said Stahl, whose long white hair and beard give him the look of a guru. He is doing the entire walk in sandals. "I walk anyway."
Stahl, who has done the walk twice already, was one of about 10 walkers who finished a 13-mile leg from Yokohama Bay to Nanakuli. The walk is the third annual "Walk the Talk" event sponsored by the nonprofit group Hawaii Helping the Hungry Have Hope (H-5).
Besides the walk, H-5 is showing off its mobile homeless shelter, with new red paint, and its project name on the side: "Evan's Project." The name Evan is an amalgamation of the words "evening" and "angel" since the mobile shelter -- a bus -- only parks overnight, said Utu Langi, H-5 director.
The interior is decorated with an island theme: Tan sheets line the beds and there are curtains for privacy. Miniature surfboards carry clothes hangers on the headboards.
The walkers staying in the bus said the eight beds are comfortable.
Curtis Kropar, event chairman, said he wants to see more support for the walk through walkers and donations. Yesterday the group had raised $14,826.
Dallas Carter, campus minister of St. Joseph's School in Waipahu, encouraged his students to join the walk. On Sunday, 47 students about age 12 from his school walked three miles of the Haleiwa leg.
"People stopped and asked what it was," Carter said. "We got the community aware. ... Hopefully this continues to grow."
About six walkers are committed to completing the entire journey, up from three last year. Walkers wear red shirts with the slogan "Walk the Talk" across the front.
Langi said a majority of the event walkers this year are homeless, giving them a chance to get away from their shelters.
Eugene Cuba, a resident at the Next Step shelter in Kakaako, is doing the walk for the first time.
He walks because "the (homeless) problem has to be addressed right now. If not, it's going to get worse."
He appeared to have pulled a leg muscle yesterday.
Cuba stood barefoot on St. Rita's pavement with a wrap around his left calf. Despite the injury, he plans to finish the walk, saying he will crawl if he must.
The walk continues to Waipahu today and finishes at the Capitol tomorrow. There, walkers will join a vigil sponsored by Partners in Care to commemorate Homeless Awareness Week.