VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WVEC) -- He hopes by hitting the streets, they'll get homeless people off the streets and onto better lives.
"I wanted to do something big to really raise awareness," said Jim White, owner of Jim White Nutrition and Fitness Studios.
The big thing Jim is talking about is getting a group of colleagues and friends to run from Virginia Beach to Washington, D.C. to raise awareness about the plight of being homeless and the need to do something about it. They call it "White house to White House" and it's 240 miles!
At first, the reaction from friends was mixed.
"They're like what? Why? Who would want to do that?" Jim said.
However, Jim found out friends, colleagues and the business community eventually began to rally around his cause. He hopes to raise $20,000 for his foundation that helps to empower area homeless with his LIFT program.
"LIFT stands for lifting spirits, improving bodies, feeding souls and transforming lives," explained Jim. "With exercise and nutrition and that helping hand we can really lift spirits."
Through LIFT, Jim and his colleagues engage in a 90-day program with homeless people at various shelters. They conduct free exercise boot camps with homeless people to boost their strength. They conduct personal sessions to help them focus on their self-esteem so they can be in the right frame of mind to hunt for new jobs or emerge from homelessness. They teach them healthier eating to improve their overall health. At the end of the program, there's an awards ceremony to acknowledge how far they've come, what they've accomplished, and to give them the extra motivational push to run towards the future with new determination and hope.
"After our 90 day program, it's been amazing how many lives have been transformed not only in weight loss, but in spirit, body and mind," Jim said.
"Accomplishing a goal and working hard towards something, learning to feel better is just contagious, overwhelming and transfers to every part of your life," said Jess Horton, a White house to White House Committee Chair.
They take off from Jim White's Nutrition and Fitness Studio off of North Great Neck Road near Shore Drive Sunday morning at 5:45. They plan on donating care packages to homeless shelters along the way.
But, even before their big trek, they already feel like they've accomplished something.
"It's been amazing bringing us all together," Jim said.
To donate to the cause, head to www.crowdrise.com/whitehouserun.