The HomeRun for the Homeless 5k race to benefit the homeless in El Paso
By Kristopher Rivera / El Paso Times
POSTED: 07/20/2014 07:20:50 PM MDT


A 5K run will be held at Southwest University Park on July 26 to benefit the homeless in El Paso.

The HomeRun for the Homeless race was organized by the El Paso Class 36 Project, a community service group that was started by the Greater El Paso Chamber of Commerce. All profits from the event will go toward the Opportunity Center for the Homeless located at 1208 Myrtle Ave.

“The group picked this organization and immediately we started processing ideas,” said Stephen DuPlessis, a member of the El Paso Class 36 project.

“It was very embraced and so it was done,” he added.

The Opportunity Center for the Homeless helps homeless people who are elderly, mentally ill, immigrants, addicted to drugs or in other circumstances. Social services provided include employment, housing, clinics, transportation services and services for homeless veterans.

Ray Tullius, the executive director of the program, was a homeless veteran with a master’s degree. Eventually got his life together after falling on hard times and went into social work. He was instrumental in putting together the Reynolds Home, a shelter for women and kids, then he put together the Opportunity Center, which initially offered homeless people coffee and a place to sleep, Rosales said.

“It all started with a coffee pot,” said Hector Rosales, grants monitor at the Opportunity Center for the Homeless.

The shelter houses about 120 men and 40 women, but during the winter that number can increase to 160 men and 60 women, Rosales said.

An event like HomeRun for the Homeless will help the organization right now because of funding shifts at the center, said Daniel Vasquez, director of fund development at the Opportunity Center for the Homeless.

“We are facing some challenges right now as a result of some grant losses which will have a tremendous impact on the El Paso community; we have lost over $400,000.00 in funding since June,” Vasquez said.

Organizers of HomeRun for the Homeless hope to raise $60,000 for the shelter.

“It was a very ambitious goal,” DuPlessis said. “We are very much on track, but we may fall a bit short.”

Minus the cost of the event, they should raise $50,000, DuPlessis said.

Organizers raised $20,000 after contributions from its four biggest sponsors, Edward’s Homes, ERA Sellers Buyers & Associates, Western Refinery and Imaging Advantage.

Currently, between 300 and 350 people have signed up for the race.

The HomeRun for the Homeless race is the first in the El Paso Marathon’s More Than a Marathon series.

The race starts at 8 a.m. at the clock tower on Durango Street in front of Southwest University Park, proceeds through Downtown El Paso and finishes at first base inside the ballpark.

Registration fees from July 13-25 for the 5K competitive run/fun run/walk is $35. The Kids Dash — 12 and under — is $20. There will be no race day registration available for the 5K competitive run. However, race day registration for the fun run/walk will be $25.

For more information call 575-408-8786.