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Apr 10 2016
by Noemi Griffin

How One Penn State Freshman Will Raise Awareness and Money for Homelessness Through Hiking

By Noemi Griffin - Apr 10 2016
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Chris Sommer, a freshman at Penn State majoring in chemical engineering, is going to hike the 325-mile Mid-State Trail in 14 days. Each day he's on the trail he is going to raise money and awareness for the homeless. 

From June 5 to 19, he decided that he would hike and raise awareness for this cause that he has seen evolve throughout his life. “Being born and raised in State College, I have seen the town become more and more urbanized. With this growth, the homelessness has increased,” Sommer said to USA Today.

In order to finish the trail in 14 days, Sommer will have to cover 23 miles a day. Sommer is an experienced hiker; this will be his second solo hike. His first, and longest, was completed last year when he was an Eagle Scout. He navigated through 570 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail, where he “found his passion for long distance hiking and realized that he had to do more," according to USA Today. 

The Mid-State Trail runs from the southern border of Maryland to the northern border of Pennsylvania. It follows the Tussey Ridge Line, going through State College and then following the Allegheny Plateau. When Sommer approaches State College, Hearts 4 Homeless, the nonprofit to which all of his proceeds are going, will meet him on the trail.

Hearts 4 Homeless strives to “provide basic necessities, a safe place during the day for the homeless and those at-risk of becoming homeless to gather faculties,” according to the Hearts 4 Homeless website.

One of their newer projects is the Transitional Housing Program. The program leases apartments to people in need from all walks of life. One hundred percent of the proceeds raised by Sommer will go to Hearts 4 Homeless, specifically the new program.

Assistant Director and Vice President of Hearts 4 Homeless Ashton Munoz told USA Today that “He [Sommer] had a unique energy that stood out to me and an initiative that I found incredibly refreshing. He is ready to jump in and commit his time and efforts into Hike 4 Homeless, and his trek is going to make a big statement for our cause.”

This is an inspiring story of a young man taking something he loves and using it to promote a good cause that is close to his heart. People can join Sommer's mission by following his blog or donating to his fund. 

Lead Image Credit: Chris Sommer

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Noemi Griffin - Mercer University

Noemi Griffin is a Journalism and Spanish major at Mercer University. Her true passion is dogs and it is truly a great day whenever there is a dog in sight. Instagram: noemioriana Twitter: noemi_oriana

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