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Fun run has serious goal: Fighting hunger
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It’s been more than four months since the Second Harvest Food Bank made their big push for turkeys and donations to make sure that families had a decent meal to enjoy during the holidays.

But Keri Tapia – Second Harvest’s Director of Administrative Services – hopes that the organization’s upcoming “Hit the Streets for Hunger Run” on Saturday, April 2, will shed light on the fact that families in the area need more than just assistance during one point in the calendar year.

“I think that it’s very important to let people know that this is a 365-day-a-year problem and hopefully this event raises awareness about that,” Tapia said. “It’s very apparent to us that there’s a big need because the number of people that we serve has more than tripled in the last few years.”

A $20 participation fee will help support the mission of the Second Harvest to provide for needy families in San Joaquin and Stanislaus Counties.

“It’s about more than just Thanksgiving and Christmas.”

The event – which starts registering runners for the one-mile and 5K runs at 7 a.m. Saturday near the corner of Center Street and Elm Avenue – is being held in conjunction with the 15th annual Crossroads Street Faire to help draw more people to the event.

According to Tapia, Second Harvest approached Manteca Convention and Visitors Bureau Director Linda Abeldt about holding the event the same weekend similar to the way that the Manteca Unified Student Trust holds their event during the Pumpkin Fair. The support they received from the CVB, Tapia said, has been remarkable.

“We thought that holding it on this weekend would provide us the best venue to promote it and draw as many people as possible,” she said. “Linda has gone out of her way to advertise it on the CVB website, which has been a great help in getting the word out to people who want to participate.”

And so far early registration has been remarkably successful.

Last year’s event featured 120 participants, while the upcoming fun run has more than 250 people already registered to participate – with more expected to show up the day of the event.

The $20 entry fee includes a t-shirt (which were ordered for those who pre-registered and might not be available for those who sign up the morning of) and a goody bag for their participation.

Seeing as many people out on the course, Tapia said, will help show that the community stands united to help provide for families who have fallen victim to the current economic climate that continues to claim jobs and force people out of their homes and into the care of relatives – if not onto the streets.

“We’re serving so many more people now in light of what’s going on with the economy,” she said. “It’s pretty apparent that the problem isn’t confined to the two big holidays because that need never goes away.”

Volunteers to help handle the registration, cheer on runners along the course, help stuff goodie bags that will be distributed to each participant and be on hand to tackle the tasks that arise are encouraged to contact the Second Harvest Food Bank at 833-3663.