Bob walking on a nature trail

2,500 Miles of Hope

Bob Mullarkey is no ordinary senior. At age 62, he walked 25 miles a day for 100 days this year to raise money for Mercy Housing California (MHC) and bring attention to our state’s homelessness crisis.  

We touched base with Bob at the end of his 2,500-mile walk-a-thon – a stroll that raised just over $100,000 and inspired more than 60 friends, family members, and strangers to donate to MHC – to hear more about his journey. 

Why Mercy Housing?

Bob knew he wanted to raise awareness and support for people experiencing homelessness, but at Day 50 of his walk-a-thon, he hadn’t yet decided which nonprofit would be the beneficiary of his fundraising efforts. After hearing about MHC, Bob decided that the organization “checked all the boxes” and he would dedicate his 2,500-mile walk to raising money for MHC residents and programs. Bob, with the help of his daughter, sent letters to 300 friends, relatives, and community members to alert them of his fundraising walk-a-thon for MHC. As of today, his efforts have raised just over $100,000 while building awareness for his cause, and donations continue to come in. In addition to his own friends and family, more than one complete stranger has been inspired to give to MHC after seeing Bob walking and asking to hear more about his cause.

Walking the Talk

Each day of the walk-a-thon, Bob set off before sunrise at 5:30 a.m. from his home in the foothills of Mount Diablo in Walnut Creek and walked up the trail leading to the mountain. 

“It takes 8½ hours for me to complete the 25 miles,” said Bob. “That’s lots of time to meditate and pray, or for books on tape. I’ve seen lots of nature and animals along the way: wild boar, deer, and cows.”  

As Bob is quick to emphasize, though, “hiking is just an end to a means. I knew I wanted to raise money for the poor and homeless. The charity I chose was Mercy Housing because they have dozens of properties throughout California to serve low-income and previously homeless people. And then to show people how invested I am in this, especially the people from whom I’m requesting donations, I decided to walk 2,500 miles.” 

Bob added, “I’m glad I had the time to pray and think about the plight of the poor and homeless. It’s in giving that we receive. I know I have given over the years, but I’ve received tenfold.” 

Thank You Bob!

We offer Bob our heartfelt thanks for completing his 2,500 miles for MHC residents and inspiring dozens of new champions for housing justice. His compassion means the world to the people who call Mercy Housing home.