Hundreds of Santa Barbara County citizens will take to the streets this Saturday in effort to raise funds for various HIV/AIDS programs and services.
The 17th Annual Heart & Sole AIDS Walk, a 10-kilometer walk and run hosted by the Pacific Pride Foundation, will begin at 10 a.m. at Chase Palm Park on Cabrillo Boulevard near Garden Street downtown. Walkers will follow a set course along the beach on Cabrillo Boulevard to a designated beachside finish, where the event will culminate in a well-earned celebration with free snacks, live music and massages for registered participants.
According to PPF representative Colette Schabram, event organizers estimate a turnout of 500 walkers, in addition to the 200 local volunteers helping to ensure that the event runs smoothly. Schabram said that many participants from past years were local families and high school students as well as students from UCSB and Santa Barbara City College.
The event marks one of the largest single-day fundraising events in Santa Barbara County and has successfully raised $1.7 million over the past 16 years for AIDS research and prevention programs, Schabram said.
“Our goal is to raise between $80 thousand and $100 thousand,” Schabram said. “All of the money raised stays in Santa Barbara County, funding programs that help men and women living with or otherwise affected by HIV/AIDS.”
The Pacific Pride Foundation was founded in 1984 and is currently the county’s leading provider of HIV/AIDS services, focusing its efforts on case management for infected persons, early intervention, counseling, education and prevention. Additionally, the foundation operates a food pantry for families affected by HIV and has several testing facilities throughout the county.
Organizers will provide refreshments to participants at several designated rest stops along the two-hour route. Participants are encouraged to wear layers and comfortable shoes.
Individuals interested in participating in the event can register online at www.pacificpridefoundation.org, or simply show up and register on the morning of the event.