Community Races to End Hunger — Even with Carts
Manna on Main Street held its second 5K Race to End Hunger and 1-Mile Fun Run Saturday at Knapp Elementary School in Lansdale. There was also a 120-yard relay race using shopping carts stocked with donated goods
It's not easy to run in flip-flops — and even harder when you're pushing a shopping cart filled with donated goods in a 120-yard relay race.
Yet Emily Beynon, 13, and Kim Ehleben, 13, of Mary, Mother of the Redeemer Parish School in Montgomery Township — along with classmates Samantha Splendido, 12, and Jackie Campbell, 14 — became the victors of the relay, beating out Manna on Main Street at the nonprofit's second annual 5K Race to End Hunger and 1-Mile Fun Run fundraiser event Saturday at Knapp Elementary School.
"Painfully," was Beynon's answer on how she was able to race in flip-flops.
"No clue," was Ehleben's answer to the same question.
The group of girls were at the fundraiser to collect canned goods as part of a senior project for volleyball.
"We didn't know we were doing it until 15 minutes before," said Ehleben.
Other participants decorated their carts for the race, including one group who made their cart into a horse and wagon. Simple Brandz Inc., for instance, had the help of Granola Boy, Fuel Chick and Do Not Girl for its shopping cart relay (In reality, John Zeiger, Heather Powell and Jillian Zeiger).
By the end of the day, Manna's fundraiser had brought in more than $49,000 from sponsorships and more than $12,000 in race registration fees.
Manna on Main Street Board Chairman Kareem Afzal said the purpose of Saturday's event was to raise awareness for hunger in the area.
"A lot of us have been working a long time to provide a fun event to participate in," Afzal said.
All proceeds go directly to Manna's soup kitchen and food pantry programs.
"We had a great race committee working three-and-a-half months," said Afzal. "And our police are great to work with. We had more than 100 volunteers at 6:30 a.m. to help set up."
The inaugural 5K Race and 1-Mile Fun Run commemmorated Manna's 30th anniversary, along with a live auction. This year, the 5K remained and will remain as an annual event.
"The people, the volunteers, they all take ownership and be a part of this," Afzal said. "And the school district is great, letting us have the space."
After the 5K Run, attendees and participants were treated to a pancake breakfast inside the school' cafeteria.
While Manna can add some more funds to its coffers, it still needs to fill up its food pantry. Afzal said the pantry is in need now of protein items, fruits, pasta and rice.
"Everything is going great," he said. "We serve 80 to 90 people a day through our soup kitchen and pantry and help more than 100 families."
The 5K race had more than 400 participants running a course that wound its way in the neighborhoods behind Knapp Elementary.
Gene Tung was the first-place winner, with a time of 17:42.
"I loved the course. It was flat and went through a lot of neighborhoods. It was good for a local race," Tung said. "I take running pretty seriously. I do about 10 5K races a year. Running is the mental break I get from my day."
Saturday's event was the first major Manna event for new Manna on Main Street Executive Director Suzan Gould.
"It feels wonderful," Gould said of her new position, which was effective Oct. 1. "I learned a lot through the interview process and being a part of this right at the beginning of my time is wonderful."
Gould felt the enthusiasm and excitement come alive Saturday.
"This is the Lansdale community," she said. "People have come together to care about the community and our cause and to help others."