Grateful Gobbler Walk for the Homeless History

In 1998 the Homeless Coalition began the "Walk the Walk", as a part of Homeless Awareness Week, which was the preliminary to the Grateful Gobbler Walk in 2000. This first walk was a fund raiser walk beginning at UTC student union, incorporated the Riverwalk, the Walnut Street Bridge and a downtown route. The walk was designated to raise funds for services for the homeless people provided by the Coalition and its member agencies.

In November of 2000, members of ten downtown congregations joined with the Homeless Coalition in organizing Chattanooga's inaugural Thanksgiving Day walk for the homeless. All participants came together regardless of religious belief or background in order to work toward one common goal: helping some of the neediest individuals in our community. With this goal in mind additional agencies and congregations have been added each year to this annual event, making this an event that is a Chattanooga tradition for many families. To date there have been over 15,000 walkers involved in this event and the Coalition has raised over $285,000. For more information about the walk or to volunteer to help organize the walk please contact Chattanooga Homeless Coalition at 423-710-1501 or email us at

Start a Thanksgiving Day tradition in your family - walk with us!

The goals for the walk are four-fold:

  • Promote an awareness of the issues faced by the homeless population in an effort to seek better long term solutions.
  • Promote cooperation within our diverse faith community to respond to the needs of our neighbors.
  • Promote philanthropy as well as a healthy lifestyle on a day characterized by overindulgence.
  • Raise a significant sum to benefit the homeless population through the Homeless Coalition and its member agencies.

General Information about some of the Homeless Coalition member agencies that have participated in the Grateful Gobbler Walk.

The A.I.M. Center is a membership organization of persons with mental illness. Services include education, skills training, job placement and support and housing.

CADAS provides inpatient, transitional, and outpatient drug/alcohol treatment services. Its Family Way program is designed for homeless women with children experiencing drug/alcohol problems and serious mental illness. Oasis and Samaritan House provide transitional housing for homeless individuals in recovery.

Catholic Charities provides financial assistance and vouchers to low income families for food, medicine, and medical supplies. Also provides adoption and pregnancy counseling services.

The Chattanooga Area Food Bank collects and distributes food to member agencies It also honors "food vouchers" from member agencies and churches to provide food to individuals and families in need.

Chattanooga Cares is our community's AIDS Resource Center. It provides prevention education. In addition, Chattanooga Cares provides comprehensive case management services for persons living with HIV/AIDS.- with linkage to health and human services, employment, counseling, and housing.

Chattanooga Human Services provides emergency assistance for food, utility bills and rent.

Chattanooga Rescue Mission provides a faith-based transitional program for homeless men and two emergency shelters - one for homeless women and the other for homeless men.

Chattanooga Room in the Inn is an emergency shelter program for women and women with children. In addition, CRITI partners in the operation of a "Renters Certification Program" to help new tenants understand rights, obligations and responsibilities.

Chattanooga Church Ministries (Community Kitchen) provides three meals a day for homeless individuals and families. They operate two emergency shelters, a transitional housing program for families, employment and training programs, a clothing distribution program and a thrift shop.

Episcopal Metropolitan Ministries provides emergency food vouchers through the Food Bank. In addition, it provides temporary emergency financial assistance for utility bills, prescription medicine, and emergency transportation.

Fortwood Center provides comprehensive mental health and housing services for homeless persons with serious mental illness. Mitchell House is a transitional housing program for homeless with serious mental illness.

Homeless Health Care Center provides primary health care, social services, and alcohol/drug treatment services for homeless men, women and children. Operates a health clinic and provides outreach to homeless at "street sites" or wherever homeless may be found.

Interfaith Homeless Network is an emergency shelter for homeless families with children. It is the only shelter in our community that accepts adolescents. This program utilizes hundreds of volunteers and the facilities of local congregations to provide food, shelter, transportation and social services.

Partnership for Families, Children and Adults (formerly Family and Children's Services) provides an emergency shelter and transitional housing for victims of domestic violence; a sexual assault crisis center; an emergency shelter for homeless youth; and (in conjunction with the Salvation Army) an emergency shelter for homeless families.

Samaritan Center provides emergency financial, food and clothing assistance, counseling and job placement services for homeless. They also operate a Thrift Store in Ooltewah.

Southeast Tennessee Human Resource Agency provides a permanent housing program in nine rural counties.

St. Catherine's is an emergency shelter for homeless women.

St. Mathew's is an emergency shelter for homeless men.

The Home Place is a supportive residential facility for persons with HIV/AIDS. In addition to providing housing, the Home Place provides counseling and case management services.

Union Gospel Mission provides a faith-based transitions program and emergency shelter for homeless men.