It was another gorgeous fall day as the fifth annual Dick’s “Change for Charity” Walkathon set off Sunday morning from the Edmonds Dick’s location at 220th and Highway 99.
“We couldn’t have asked for better weather,” said Lars Phillips, who along with Ballard High school buddy JP Osseward came up with idea for the event in 2011. Since then it’s become a tradition, attracting more participants — and raising more money for charity — each year. This year 33 walkers completed the trek, raising more than $2,500 to support local organizations helping the homeless.
The first Dick’s Walkathon happened in early 2011 with only Phillips and Osseward participating. But with the opening of new Edmonds Dick’s location in October of that year, the friends immediately began planning for a new starting location and a longer walk. And in September 2012, now joined by fellow Ballardite Zack Gussin, the intrepid trio assembled at Dick’s Edmonds for the 22-mile trek to all Dick’s locations.
“Over five years the walk has grown from two participants, to three, to nine, to 19, and this year we had 33 walkers,” Phillips said. “We’ve traditionally raised money by encouraging Dick’s customers to put their change in a special “Change for Charity” jar at the cash register, but for the last few years we’ve sold T-shirts too. I’m really proud to say that this year we raised more than $2,500 to support local organizations that help Seattle-area homeless!”
This year’s walk took 8.5 hours and included stops at all Dick’s locations (Edmonds, Lake City, Holman, Wallingford, Broadway, and Queen Anne). The group covered 22 miles, and burned thousands of calories, fuel by an assortment of burgers, fries and other traditional Dick’s fare. Funds raised this year will go to support Mary’s Place, First Place School, FareStart, ROOTS Young Adult Shelter, The Compass Center, Operation Nightwatch, St. Martin de Porres Shelter and Cocoon House.
“We’re already looking forward to next year,” said Phillips. “We’re hoping for even more participants to help us continue to support those who work so hard every day to help our homeless population.”