Why I’m running to end homelessness in SE Idaho

Image of woman running in the snow

By: Holly Mecham

I started running eight years ago when I decided that the “someday I want to start running” was now. I wanted to do something healthy, work on my fitness and challenge myself. Before I started, I honestly couldn’t run a block so I started off slow…and just started building. Then a friend told me I should sign up for the city 5k and it changed my life. The running community here is supportive, encouraging and so much fun! Now running is a part of who I am. It’s fun, relaxing, and something I can do with friends or alone-and even with my dog! I will never be the person who wins the race, hopefully, I’ll never be the last one in, but in my book, I’ve already won because I’m out and doing it!


This is why I was so excited to hear that the United Way of Southeastern Idaho was doing their first-ever 5k Your Way – a virtual event that will raise money for programs that keep people safely housed in SE Idaho. I was so excited to combine two strong passions I have – running and the desire to make a difference in the community through United Way.


Holly MechamI’ve always known that the United Way of Southeastern Idaho was instrumental in meeting community needs, but when my employer started our pledge drive, I thought I would look a little further into it.

When I saw for myself their commitment to make the community a better place, get funds to the people in need, and their mission I was excited! My dollars would go somewhere and make a difference!

When the opportunity to become a board member opened up, I jumped right in to serve. Later, I would get the opportunity to become a community investment volunteer panel member and I truly saw how United Way of Southeastern Idaho works directly with the agency partners in our community. Their commitment to be stewards of the funds trusted to them from our pledges and improve the community is amazing!


Working in banking I see the daily struggles of people trying to make ends meet. Trying to pay rent, buy groceries and pay utilities is very hard, often resulting in families having to make difficult choices on what to pay. Adding to the situation is a drastic increase in the median home prices due to lack of inventory and, in turn, this has been passed on in increased rental costs. With record increases outpacing the income of many, it has created an unprecedented gap in people’s financial lives. When the pandemic shut down businesses and people lost their jobs we started witnessing people waiting in long lines for food here in Old Town at the Valley Mission and around town. For a lot of people here, homelessness is just one paycheck away. We need to do more-and our community has always come together to do great things!


So join me in the United Way of Southeastern Idaho’s “5k Your Way” to do something active to beat the winter blues and help keep our friends and neighbors safely housed!


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