'Run Through The Lights' helps raise donations for hungry families

'Run Through The Lights' helps raise donations for hungry families.

The annual ‘Run Through The Lights’ fundraising event kicked off Thursday evening at Bronson Park in downtown Kalamazoo. The fun holiday event also fulfills a purpose to help hungry families in the community. Donations accepted will benefit the Kalamazoo Loaves and Fishes

“It’s a chance for people to get together and really encapsulate what the holiday season is all about,” said Greta Faworski, resource development director for Loaves and Fishes.

Faworski said they anticipated as many as 1,000 participants for the 2.4 mile fun run.

Maple Hill Auto Group is a sponsor for the event. Randi DeSantis, customer relations director for Maple Hill decorated a company car for the annual festivities.

“This year should be a lot better than last year. Last year it was pouring rain, at least this year we have snow which is a lot more festive,” said DeSantis.

“Most people take it to the next level and are bringing full Christmas lights, they are wearing trees and Santa costumes, people have just as lumber jacks and angels. It’s really just all about being silly and fun,” said Faworski.

The annual run is also a chance to have fun with a purpose. Donations of food and money benefit Loaves and Fishes to provide goods to hungry families.

“Hunger is every day, there’s really no season to it. Everybody wakes up and needs to eat and so even when the lights are down and the Christmas trees are put away there are people who are still struggling,” said Faworski. “People have to start heating their home and that could be what was their food budget during the summer and so all of a sudden they have less to spend on food.”

“That feeling of community, that feeling of giving back. It’s just exciting to be a part of something like this—it gives back to the community in which we live and work and it makes us feel good,” said DeSantis.

Faworski said they’ve collected about 1,000 pounds of food at previous runs and about $10,000 from monetary donations and sponsorships.

“We see an average of about 700 people a day, but I know this week we had a couple of 800 plus days and so food goes on our shelves then right back and goes right back out,” she said. “All the excess given at this time of year is so important for us to help get through the first part of the year as well.”

15 percent of Thursday night sales at Old Burdicks will also go to Loaves and Fishes. The non-profit is in need of high protein items like canned meats and peanut butter.

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