Kim Grover of Charlottesville, Va., is taking steps to help the homeless, literally. Last month, Grover set out to hike the entire Appalachian Trail (A.T.) in an effort to raise money for Habitat for Humanity of Greater Charlottesville and The Haven, two organizations in the city’s downtown area working to end homelessness. BRO caught up with her this week as she completed roughly 135 miles of hiking.
“I realized If I go out there and it doesn’t work out, I can go back home and that there are so many people who are living kind of like I am right now and they don’t have a place to go,” Grover said over the phone from the Nantahala Outdoor Center. “They can’t say, ‘I’m sick of this. I want to go home.’ That’s how I made the correlation and got the idea to do this.”
Grover is asking people to make a pledge for each mile she travels on the 2,190+ mile trail. Contributors can choose which organization they would like to support or split their pledge between the two. Going into the project, Grover said she did not have an exact goal, but the project is currently at $23,000 in pledges from over six different states.
“I’m completely overwhelmed and thrilled by the response that this has gotten,” Grover says. “With the amount of wealth that we have in our country, it is ridiculous that people can’t find homes. I want more people thinking about the absurdity of that.”
Hiking the A.T. has been a lifelong goal for Grover. A mother of four kids who have all graduated high school and college, she decided now would be a good time to take the journey. With full support from her family and a worthy cause to keep her motivated, she quit her job and committed to hiking the long-distance trail from Georgia to Maine.
“It almost felt like a midlife crisis—I wanted to do something big and cool and fun and this [hiking the A.T.] was the thing that I felt was accessible to me,” Grover says. “I’m 53 and surprisingly, I’m kind of in the middle of the road as far …….