Second Hunger Run set for June 1

Event funds backpack program
May. 17, 2013 @ 09:33 AM

Employees from Thomasville City Schools have dedicated themselves to improving the lives of children, inside and outside the classroom.

These efforts have been fruitful, yet a considerable amount of work remains. An estimated 90 percent of TCS students live at or below the poverty line. To combat this sobering statistic, Communities In Schools of Thomasville will host its second annual Hunger Run at the Thomasville High School track Saturday, June 1.

Proceeds from the rain-or-shine event will go to the CIS backpack program — started four years ago — which serves approximately 100 children between Thomsaville Primary and Liberty Drive Elementary.

"The Hunger Run made a huge impact," said Susan Upton about last year's event. Upton is the CIS site coordinator at Liberty Drive. "It has helped us add children to our backpack program at Liberty Drive. We were able to add, expand and take care of more students with the money provided."

The number of children enrolled in the backpack program increased since last year's Hunger Run from 25 to 42.

The concern for the children rests with the fact they are served breakfast and lunch at school everyday throughout the school year, but go home over the weekend wondering where their next meal is coming from. Backpack programs at Liberty Drive Elementary and Thomasville Primary School provide supplemental meals by sending food home with students for themselves and their families.

"The backpack program touches me on a personal level," Upton said. "Seeing the kids come every week to pick up their bags, I don't have the words to describe how it makes me feel. From its inception, when I would see kids take things from the breakfast carts, I knew they were hungry. And when they're thinking about their little bellies being hungry, they are not thinking about school. That's what CIS is about, helping remove those obstacles from our children's education."

Other institutions, including the Tom A. Finch YMCA, have shown their support by helping organize the event. Jarrod Dunbar, YMCA director of membership who served on the Hunger Run planning committee, said the partnership was a no-brainer.

Walking trails and part of the Thomasville greenway — which belong to the YMCA — will make for a portion of the course upon which the Hunger Run will take place.

"As far as I'm concerned as a representative for the Y, the Hunger Run is to help the CIS backpack program, which will feed students in need," Upton said. "The Y is involved because our cause is to strengthen community. One of our focus areas is social responsibility, helping meet needs in the community. This is something we can do to accomplish that."

Nearly 100 runners showed up for the Hunger Run last year's inaugural event, and more are expected for the second. Race day registration will begin at 7 a.m., with the 5K starting at 8. To register online, visit active.com.

Staff Writer Daniel Kennedy can be reached at 888-3575, or kennedy@tvilletimes.com.