Local man running from CT to PA to help feed homeless, hungry veterans

New London

NEW LONDON, Conn. (WTNH) – A Mystic business owner started running at noon Wednesday and doesn’t plan to stop until he reaches the VA Medical Center in Philadelphia on Saturday when his company will donate 150,000 meals to homeless and hungry veterans.

“We can all make a big difference,” Brian Gates, the owner and founder of Bookwell Travel said.

Gates started running Wednesday from VFW Post 189 in New London to bring attention to the cause. Bookwell Travel is an online travel website, but unlike the competition, Gates said the company gives back.

“We have over two million properties available, and for every night you book through us, we donate 20 meals to feed the less fortunate,” Stephanie Johnson, the operations director at Bookwell Travel said.

Johnson said they’ve already donated almost a million meals from Maine to Georgia and with each event, Gates completes a 12-hour run without even stopping to eat. 

“That signifies the 12 hours that people face of hunger when you don’t have the three square meals that all the rest of us are fortunate to have,” Johnson said.

Gates said he sees a lot of homeless people, many of whom are veterans, while he runs at night.

“That’s what inspired me to start doing some fact-finding and finding that 62,000 veterans are homeless,” Gates said.

It also inspires each step he takes now, and his new mission to help homeless and hungry veterans. 

In order for Gates to complete the 241 miles in 60 hours, he can’t stop except to go to the bathroom or get something to eat.

“They’re out in the elements,” Gates said. “If they can do it, I certainly can do it.”

Gates will continue to do it until he and the RV accompanying him reach Philadelphia on Saturday. 

“It should be Veterans Day every day,” Gates said.

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