As we close out the Race Against Hunger 2020, we feel such gratitude for all who have participated, fundraised, posted photos, and spread the world about the Race. This year, due to COVID-19, the Race looked very different from the annual in-person event that we look forward to every year. Despite the challenges of transitioning to a virtual event, the community, perseverance, and commitment to ending hunger that so many of you have displayed gives us hope for the future!
Let’s meet some of the pantries that participated in the Race this year!
Faith Community Development Corporation
Faith Community Development Corporation is a food pantry located in the Germantown section of Philadelphia. The pantry has been participating in the race for at least the past 15 years, and over that time, used funds raised through the Race to purchase food, pay bills, and even repair some essential equipment like their refrigerator and freezer. Although the Race Against Hunger transitioned into a virtual event, the Faith CDC team enthusiastically adapted, with about 15 walkers! Terri Graves, the pantry coordinator says “Actually, [the virtual Race] turned out to be a lot of fun! I did my best to hype up our team to get out there and participate in the Race, and then asked that they send pictures back to me.” Despite stay at home orders, Faith CDC has still been able to reach their network of supporters to raise funds for the pantry. Terri says that she made an announcement about fundraising each Sunday at the church’s virtual service and has been enthusiastically promoting the Race by text messages and on Facebook. Terri says her favorite part of the 2020 Race was, “the pictures that came in and the effort that everyone put in…Although this year was quite different, everybody took part in their own way. I can tell they had fun with it also, their pictures show a lot of creativity!”
Vernessa Wilson, pantry coordinator at Mizpah SDA has been participating in the Race Against Hunger since 2008. While she typically joins us at the in-person Race Against Hunger, she used this year to focus on fundraising for her pantry. She says that Mizpah has been doing online fundraising for the past several years, so this year has not been a big adjustment. Vernessa recommends including the existing networks of people involved with the pantry in your fundraising efforts. She says many people “are more than happy to give a $10 donation.” She has also been including information about the Race Against Hunger in a weekly email to members of the church congregation, “they know the only time I will ask for a donation is the Race Against Hunger”. Mizpah SDA is currently serving as a City of Philadelphia Food Distribution Super Site, but Vernessa says the boxes being handed out do not have enough food in them. Mizpah gives out an additional bag of food to all clients who come to the pantry. They pick up this additional food using a truck that they purchased with funds raised from the Race. Stories like this make clear just how important Race funds are to the success of a pantry!
Drueding Center Pantry, a “Green Light Pantry” that serves healthy foods to their clients, is a 5-year participant in the Race Against Hunger. Despite the challenges of participating in a virtual event during a pandemic, they managed to maintain an aspect of togetherness among their team, the “Dru Crew”, choosing a single date and time during which they all walked or ran in their own neighborhoods and spaces. Along with their participation in the virtual Race, the “Dru Crew” has focused on reaching out to supporters and potential donors through social media networks, explains Food Pantry Coordinator Ilona Belous. Ilona explains how the “fundraising team posted about the fundraiser daily and found different ways to connect with their communities” through platforms like Facebook and Instagram. The funds raised from the Race this year will allow Drueding to purchase foods that their residents ask for, including “frozen proteins, like chicken and fish, milk, and other goods that can be more challenging to get.” Ilona says that the community support shown during the virtual Race Against Hunger 2020 was more meaningful than ever, “this year’s fundraising efforts were so touching because it was reflective of how much we can come together as a community, despite what is going on around us”. Congrats, Drueding, on a great year of fundraising, we can’t wait to celebrate with you at the Race next year!
While the virtual Race Against Hunger has ended, fundraising runs until May 31! This is the perfect time to make sure that everyone knows about the hard work that your program does in the community, and the importance of Race Against Hunger fundraising! Use these last weeks to announce your fundraising efforts at your church’s virtual Sunday service, post about the Race on Facebook, or text and email your friends and family.
Thank you for joining us for the 2020 Race Against Hunger, we will see you next year!