About the COTS Walk

The 33rd Annual COTS Walk on Sunday, May 1, 2022 is a 3.5-mile trek (a shorter 1-mile route is available) around downtown Burlington that starts from Battery Park and follows the path a person experiencing homelessness might travel to connect with COTS shelter and services. This is the one day of the year COTS opens our program spaces to the community so people can see how their support makes a difference.

Check-in begins at 1 p.m., and the Walk kicks off at 2 p.m. Walkers head down the Church Street Marketplace, up Main Street and into surrounding neighborhoods. Along the way, walkers are invited to stop outside each of COTS’ numerous buildings. We'll have interactive and up-close looks at our shelters, housing, and program spaces. Find the QR codes posted along the route to link to virtual tours of each stop and explore our 360 panoramas, sound bites, narrated videos, photos, clickable links, and so much more.

The Walk takes about 1-2 hours to complete, ending back at Battery Park where walkers are met with music and Ben & Jerry’s.

Who Walks and Why

About 2,000 walkers of all ages, from businesses, schools, social and religious organizations, and neighborhoods come together from all over the region to participate in the annual COTS Walk.

The COTS Walk has two purposes: To raise public awareness about homelessness in our community and to raise money to support COTS shelters and services for Vermonters who are homeless or are at risk of losing their homes.

Daily Interactive Walk Activities

Starting on April 1, we will have 21 daily walk activities for every weekday of the month available on our website and ready to explore as we count down to our in-person event on Sunday, May 1. All will be interactive, educational, and fun things you can do indepently or with friends and family. We start with a song to get you warmed up for your daily walk activity and then we jump right into it with guidance on how to share your participation to encourage others to engage with the COTS Walk and inspire your network to support you as you fundraise for COTS.

So far we've created activities like participating in a story walk, playing Twister or Jenga, or traveling through time to learn about how people lived 100 years ago. All of our activities create an opportunity to connect with the mission of COTS and learn more about our work in the community. Follow along with the calendar of activities or pick and choose which days you would like to participate! Explore our Calendar of Virtual COTS Walk Activities now! 

Our Goal

All our shelters remain open. At a time like this, it's increasingly important that we raise the funds and resources to continue operation, today and throughout the year. Reaching our COTS Walk fundraising goal of $205,000 is critical.

How to participate

Walk as an individual: Set a fundraising goal for yourself and begin collecting pledges from friends, co-workers, family members and neighbors. We will help set up times for walkers and team captains to drop off any physical donations as the COTS Walk day gets closer.

Be a Team Captain: The Walk is especially fun if you form a team and fundraise with a group of co-workers, friends, family members or your social or religious organization. Give your team a name, make signs or costumes or come up with another creative way to identify yourselves as a Walk Team for COTS. Our photographer will be there to snap your team photo!

Take the Challenge: Set a goal of raising at least $1,000 as an individual. (COTS Walk Challenge teams aim to raise $2,500 as a team.) A generous grant matches Challenge Walk donations up to $15,000. Also, Challenge walkers who meet their goal will receive exclusive COTS logo gear, and Challenge Teams receive a framed certificate and special recognition at our Annual Meeting & Volunteer Appreciation Breakfast.

Contact Romy Theisen at (802) 343-6903 to register over the phone.

Presenting Sponsor

Rice Lumber Logo