Hikers trek for humanity

Connecticut hikers braved steep and winding trails to raise money for Habitat for Humanity on Saturday.

The hike, organized by the “Sleeping Giant Build” chapter of Habitat for Humanity, took place at Sleeping Giant State Park in Hamden, Conn. From 1-3 p.m., registered individuals, teams and organizations hiked up Tower Trail to raise funds for home renovation and building for impoverished families. Run by volunteers from Hamden and North Haven, the Sleeping Giant Build’s current project is refurbishing a 119-year-old farmhouse located on a 35-acre plot on Gilbert Ave. As part of this project, 57 participating hikers were asked to contribute at least $15 each, totalling $1,100.

Habit for Humanity builds and sells houses for families in need at no profit. Participating homeowners are required to physically contribute to the building of their homes as well as homes for other Habitat families. In addition to their work on the farmhouse, the Sleeping Giant Build has constructed three homes in Hamden for low-income families over three years.

The hike, which took most people an hour to complete, gave participants the choice between an easy trail and a hard trail, said Allyson Derosier, the secretary of the Habitat Club at Southern Connecticut State University.

Derosier said she took the more challenging path with several Habitat newcomers. As one of the first events of the year, the hike gave Derosier an opportunity to get to meet new members, she said.

One team of Hamden High School hockey players, led by 15-year-old Dan Chicoine, planned to hike the hard trail only to mistakenly stray off the path and find themselves on the easy trail, Chicoine said. After getting lost, the group eventually found the path, Chicoine said, and they ultimately reached the top.

Chicoine said he learned of the hike through a Sleeping Giant Build meeting that he attended with his father. Having hiked the easy trail once before in the sixth grade, he registered 16 members of his hockey team for the hike after hockey practice one day.

“We could see a whole part of a mountain and the entire Quinnipiac campus,” Chicoine said. “I thought it was really fun that we went up as a team.”

Derosier, who joined her college’s Habitat Club as a sophomore, said the group has grown to 70 members. She said she hopes that events like the hike will encourage other young people to take a hands-on approach to building safe, affordable homes.

Allison Mangles, who sits on the executive committee of Sleeping Giant Build, said she had the best seat in the house. She sat in the tower of the castle at the top of the trail, she said, handing out “I hiked the Giant” stickers to weary participants.

“They were excited when they got the stickers,” she said.

Last spring, the Sleeping Giant Build organized a wine tasting and a concert. This is the second year that the Hike for Humanity has been held.

The next Sleeping Giant Build fundraiser will be the West Rock Challenge, a three-mile or nine-mile run from Hamden to West Rock.

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