Above: Northside Common Ministries is located in the California-Kirkbride neighborhood on Brighton Road.

by Megan Trimble

Northsiders can stretch their legs and brains while raising money for charity June 8 during the Northside Common Ministry’s Magical History Tour.

During the tour, the participants will learn more about the history of Northside neighborhoods as group leaders direct them along 1K, 3K and 5K courses.

The walk will highlight some notable landmarks, allowing the walkers to pass houses where Gertrude Stein, Mary Cassatt, Martha Graham and the inventor of the Ferris wheel lived in their youth.

The tour begins at the NCM shelter at 1601 Brighton Rd. and concludes in West Park, on the corner of West North Avenue and Resaca Place, with music and food. Registration begins at 9:30 a.m. and participants begin their walk at 10 a.m.

The Northside Common Ministries has hosted the walk to support its men’s shelter for more than a dozen years. The walk draws 100 to 150 walkers ranging in age from infants riding in strollers to senior citizens and generates several thousand dollars each year, according to NCM Director Jay Poliziani.

Poliziani said the money is used to help the NCM buy needed items to operate its 25-bed homeless men’s shelter that provides a “safe haven for hundreds of homeless men every year.”

“We are able to supply the men with work boots so the can get a job, twin size sheets and bath towels with this added money,” he said.

Participants are invited to bring a bag of non-perishable food items to bolster the food pantry, another aspect of the NCM. The food pantry plays a prominent role in the community by providing for the food needs of close to 1,000 Northsiders each month.

The Ministry also offers other services to work with the neighborhoods’ homeless and strengthen them as positive members in the community. These services include utility assistance and medical programs as well as a GED class. The walk, Poliziani said, helps to fund the “much needed programs.”

Poliziani said people come from all over the region to participate and oftentimes bring friends. Last year’s event included walkers from Florida and New Mexico.

“Folks love the chance to see new neighborhoods and help raise money for the shelter,” he said.

The walk is dog-friendly and all are welcome to attend.

There is not set registration fee, but walkers receive a free Magical History Tour T-shirt with a $30 donation. Walkers are encouraged to request a pledge sheet and seek out monetary support from their friends and family.

For more information, interested participants can call 412.323.1163 or email jay.poliziani@ncmin.org for a pledge sheet.