COTS largest fundraiser takes off – literally – SUNDAY
The 28th Annual COTS Walk kicks off at 2 p.m. SUNDAY (May 7) from Battery Park, Burlington, with thousands of origami butterflies to celebrate the new beginnings made possible through COTS’ work to end homelessness. This year’s Walk theme, as symbolized by the butterflies: Inspire hope. Empower transformation.
Guests at the COTS Daystation, children staying in COTS family shelter, students, volunteers, supporters, and staff have folded thousands of butterflies that will be displayed at the COTS Walk and in 95 North Avenue. On Monday, COTS received 1,000 butterflies from Gardener’s Supply Co., who will walk Sunday as a COTS Walk Challenge team. That brings COTS’ current total to 6,283 butterflies! (See attached photos.)
COTS has received butterflies from as far away as California, throughout the Northeast, and, of course, from across the Chittenden County community. Packages of butterflies have arrived daily, as well as being dropped off by supporters.
This year, walkers will be among the first to see COTS newly renovated facility at 95 North Avenue, which includes the new permanent home for the Daystation program (COTS’ daytime drop-in center), family and single adult services, and 14 new affordable apartments for people who are homeless or at risk of being homeless.
- WHAT: The COTS Walk is a 3.5-mile trek around downtown Burlington starting from Battery Park, following the route a person who is homeless or at risk of becoming homeless might travel to receive shelter and services. (A shorter route is available, particularly designed for families with young children.)
- WHEN: SUNDAY. The COTS Walk check-in begins at 1 p.m.; the walk begins at 2 p.m.
- WHERE: Begins and concludes at Battery Park, Burlington
- REGISTRATION: Register at give.classy.org/cotswalk; walk-ins are welcome. No minimum fundraising required.
- DETAILS: The Walk itself takes about an hour, and takes place rain or shine. Dress accordingly.
The Walk – COTS’ largest single-day fundraiser – is a critical part of the organization’s overall fundraising for the year. This year’s fundraising event goal is $200,000. Through the support of generous sponsors, all money raised by walkers goes directly to services. About 50 percent of COTS’ annual operating budget comes directly from community support.
The COTS Walk is also the one day of the year that the nationally recognized nonprofit opens its programs to the community so people can see how their donations make a difference. COTS serves about 2,600 people annually and is the largest provider for people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless in Vermont.
More than 2,000 walkers of all ages, from schools, social and religious organizations, businesses and neighborhoods, participate. About 200 volunteers help make it happen, too. The family-friendly event includes snacks along the way as well as:
- Lake Monsters Champ
- Vermont Dance Academy of Colchester & their Hip-Hop All-Stars
- Music by Star 92.9 and Planet 96.7
- Vermont Teddy Bear’s Ted E. Bear
- UVM Rally Cat
- Free Starbucks Coffee Stop
- Zumba©, led by local instructors
- Music by In the Pocket Jazz
- Miss Vermont
- Music by the Dixie Six
- Free ice cream from Ben & Jerry’s
And, of course, LOTS of butterflies!
Register today: give.classy.org/cotswalk. There is no minimum fundraising required for participation. However, youth walkers who raise $75 or more receive a COTS Walk T-shirt; adult walkers (age 16+) who raise $150 or more get a T-shirt.
This is the 20th year that walkers who elect to go the extra mile by taking the “challenge” and pledge to raise $1,000 will have their donations matched by a Challenge Grant from an anonymous donor. Challenge Walkers receive a water bottle at the Walk and special recognition at the COTS Annual Meeting in the fall. We have four Walkers who have taken and met the Challenge for all 20 years: Bob Duncan of Burlington; Joyce Hagen of Burlington; Michael Lipson of South Burlington, and Walk co-founder, Lucy Samara of South Burlington.
This year’s T-shirt is designed by Burlington cartoonist Rachel Lindsay, the poster was designed by Tori Carton of Hotel Vermont, and John James of Seven Days also volunteered to design the COTS Walk Passport booklet (new this year) for the COTS Walk Kids Quest to help families to learn more about the work COTS does year-round. The Kids Quest features updated COTS informational trifolds, created by scrapbook volunteers from Essex Junction and South Burlington.
Thanks to our generous sponsors, all money raised by Walkers goes directly to services. This year’s COTS Walk is presented by National Life Group. Community sponsors: City Market; Dealer.com; Pomerleau Real Estate. Media Sponsors: Star 92.9 and Planet 96.7; Free Press Media; WCAX-TV. Route sponsors: Duncan*Wisniewski. Site sponsors: Ben & Jerry’s; Blue Cross Blue Shield; Darn Tough; Denny’s Dinse, Knapp & McAndrew. P.C.; Opportunities Credit Union; Stephen & Burns; Timberlane Dental Group; University of Vermont Medical Center; VEIC; Vermont Systems; Wright & Morrissey. T-shirt sponsors: Casella Waste Management; Gardener’s Supply Co.; Hotel Vermont; Krebs & Lansing Consulting Engineers, Inc.; Merchants Bank; Nikon Precision; North Country Federal Credit Union; Northeast Delta Dental; Northwest Vermont Board of Realtors; Queen City Printers, Inc.; RedStone; The Dixie Six; Vermont Gas; and Vermont Tent Co.
Many other sponsors provided generous in-kind support.