The Red Deer PCN Women’s Fun Run helped feed needy children at 29 schools in 2018 by funding The Mustard Seed’s school lunch program.
“Feeding children — 5,500 lunches — is a big need. And it’s not something you can do once. Kids need to eat every day, so we need to stay on that train to help them every day,” said race director Val Jensen at The Mustard Seed on Thursday, where she provided an overview of the 2019 run, which will be held May 11.
Last year, the annual run raised more than $35,000 for the program.
“We’re hoping for $20,000 this year. I’d like to say more, but it’s a tough economy and I know there are lots of great charities out there. We’re hoping through team fundraising, if we all give a little, it will add up to a lot.”
More than 1,200 participants took part in the 2018 run, sponsored by Red Deer Primary Care Network. New for 2019 will be the three-kilometre family run, sponsored by Move Your Mood, to promote walking or running for women, men, boys and girls.
“It’s still the Red Deer PCN Women’s Fun Run. But now we’ve opened up an event for the families, for the men,” said Jensen.
She said the fun run helps give people a specific fitness goal.
“We’ve got a concrete finish line to train for, and I think we need that: goals we can achieve rather than I’ve got to lose weight, I’ve got to eat better,” Jensen said.
About 40 run sponsors, partners, volunteers and participants came out to support the fun run information event on Thursday and they also toured The Mustard Seed.
Scott Tilbury, development officer with The Mustard Seed, said fundraising is underway to renovate space for a health and wellness centre with nurse practitioners, doctors, dentists and a mental health specialist. Most services will be provided by volunteers.
“We’re working closely with Alberta Health Services and the PCN. We will have an advisory council to meet all standards,” Tilbury said.
The intent is to have the health and wellness centre room ready for clients in a few months.
On Thursday, volunteers from Home Depot were installing more than $2,500 of cabinets, furniture and equipment in the kitchen for clients using the emergency overnight shelter in the basement of the building.
Tilbury said the agency is also trying to find land to build a 25-unit apartment to help people get off the street.
“We’re not an agency that just says — here’s food, see you later. We build relationships and that’s how we grow hope in the community.”