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Taking Steps Toward Family Health

The Floating Hospital’s First Annual Walk for Families Forges a Positive Path in Raising Awareness and Funds for the Health and Welfare of NYC’s Hidden Homeless

“We don’t realize all of the people around us who are homeless and for what reason,” says Ellen Barker, executive director of The Floating Hospital Foundation. “Our goal is both helping those individuals and their families—folks who are the ‘hidden homeless’ in transitional housing—and raising awareness about them.”

With that in mind, The Floating Hospital organized our first-ever “Walk for Families” on Oct. 1—not only to celebrate our new flagship clinic, which opened over the summer, but to raise funds for expanded services such as the new vaccination and community centers—now more important than ever as coronavirus concerns continue.

The event was originally conceived as a family-friendly two-mile walk from midtown Manhattan across the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge to the new clinic for a ribbon-cutting ceremony. But in light of rising concerns over the Delta variant of the coronavirus, the event will now pivot—a word we all know well—to a fundraising walk that participants can do from wherever they want, at any time throughout the month of October.

“Though we would have loved to walk in solidarity with our families, friends and supporters, we have to keep public and community safety top of mind, and in these uncertain times, we want to put wellbeing first,” Barker said.

walk for families graphic with quote from ellen

But, Barker said, people can still participate in a number of ways.

Friends of The Floating Hospital and sponsors can join our efforts by registering through an event fundraising portal and walk any time starting Oct. 1 with all goals to be met by Oct. 31. Supporters can make an individual donation and/or encourage their personal and work networks to walk safely together and raise support as a team.

To keep in the spirit of the walk and in good health, we encourage fundraisers to organize their own treks with friends, family, neighbors in any way, shape or form they wish: around the neighborhood, on a treadmill or a trail, in a park. The first 250 people to register before Sept. 10, will receive a free T-shirt that shows you’re walking in solidarity with New York City’s most vulnerable families. Snap photos while you walk, send them to us, and we’ll share them on our social media and newsletter.

How to walk with us

Visit thefloatinghospital.org/walk-for-families-2021/ to register yourself or your group. Adults can enter for $25, which will be applied toward their fundraising goal of $150. Teens under age 18 can enter for $15, to be applied toward their goal of $75.

How your support helps

Funds raised during the October walk will directly service our patients—86 cents of every dollar. Currently, we’re raising funds for a new vaccine clinic and community center that ensures access to health for all families living in shelters and other transitional housing. Last year, The Floating Hospital served nearly 20,000 patients, turning away no one, and providing a continuum of care during the coronavirus pandemic.

“It was a time when we really saw how much the community depended on us, when they had few other places to turn,” Barker says. “We don’t know what the future will bring, but we want to ensure we are a part of it for these families as their true medical home.”

Generous sponsors who’ve signed on so far include: presenting sponsor Wunderman Thompson Health, and event sponsors Alera Group, Greiner-Maltz, Lamb Financial Group, Mediterranean Shipping Company, Charlene Prounis and UNFCU.

Register today and receive your free Walk for Families 2021 T-shirt. For more information, please contact TFH’s Walk event team at TFHwalkinfo@thefloatinghospital.org or call 718-784-2240 ext. 215.

Since 1866, The Floating Hospital has been the largest provider of healthcare and education to families living with homelessness. Based in Long Island City, it provides comprehensive primary, dental and behavioral-health services, and health-education to patients living in more than 300 shelters and domestic violence safe houses throughout New York City.

In 2021, The Floating Hospital moved into a new modern main clinic in Long Island City, and continue to support patients in satellite clinics at family homeless shelters and public housing complexes in Queens, Brooklyn and the Bronx.

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