A couple is hiking across the country to promote community involvement in addressing housing, health, and hunger problems.
Monday, they arrived in Jefferson City.
Kirk Sinclair is known as the "Hiking Humanitarian". He and his wife Cindy started their journey on May 25th in Point Reyes, California, about 30 miles from San Francisco.
They are walking more than 5,000 miles, delivering their message to cities big and small across the nation.
The Sinclairs have been avid hikers throughout their lives. They have hiked the entire Appalachian and Continental-Divide trails. They say the best way to make a difference is to include your passion, which for them means hiking.
The effort came about after Kirk began studying just how little communities are doing to help their own...
"We have declining civic involvement, declining attrition and faith-based groups," said Sinclair. "We have less people attending town meetings. And just people not rolling up their sleeves together much anymore."
But both Kirk and Cindy said they have seen good in people so far during their hike, as communities have reached out to them and showed support for what they are doing. Kirk says the desire to help others is part of being human, and that everyone has the ability to do their part.
"We feel each other's pain. We feel each other's joy. The reason we're filled with empathy is for the reason of caring for each other."
One of the best stories the couple shared during the interview occurred in Dillon, Colorado. They were unable to find a camping spot in nearby park, and police wouldn't let them camp in town without getting a ticket. They were in a bind and forced to check into a motel.
"That's not good news for us," Kirk explained. "Because we're on such a limited budget."
Lucky for the Sinclairs, a nearby town newspaper had done a story about the hikers, and the hotel management saw it.
"The Best Western Motel in Dillon saw the article the next morning, and they comped us the the room."
They say events like that have happened throughout their journey, and it is a good example of what everyone should do.
The Sinclairs left Jefferson City Tuesday morning. They will be continuing along the Katy Trail, camping near Tebbetts Tuesday night. They will then continue to Hermann and eventually on to St. Charles.
Their journey will wrap up on May 24th, a year after it started, in their hometown of Norfolk, Connecticut.
More information about Kirk, Cindy, and their hike, along with a blog that is updated along the way, can be found by following the link below to the Hiking Humanitarian's website.