Running This Race Helps Feed Hungry Kids
When he moved to Brevard County, Matthew McCarthy easily connected with the mission of The Children’s Hunger Project. The nonprofit provides food for hungry kids during the weekends, when the school nutrition program does not operate.
It harkened back to memories of growing up with the neighborhood go-to mom for food.
“We’d always had kids over and my mom would feed them,” said McCarthy, a nurse with Health First Viera Hospital’s Medical and Surgical Unit. “Maybe she filled the void for them. I lived in a small town with a lot of underprivileged kids.”
When Health First’s med/surg unit signed on to pack food for TCHP, McCarthy was there, and he plans to be at the starting line for the Fight Child Hunger 5k Run/Walk in January.
“You have kids trying to learn in school who are already thinking about where their next meal comes from,” McCarthy said. “TCHP eases that stress and tension so they can focus on school when they’re at school. That’s what really set this apart for me.”
Health First has been title sponsor of the race since 2017.
“This fundraiser is very important,” said TCHP Executive Director Cheryl Cominsky.
Both The Children’s Hunger Project and the Sharing Center of Central Brevard benefit from the race, which drew 500 participants in January — the seventh annual running.
“We partner with the Sharing Center and split the proceeds 50/50,” Cominsky explained. “This past year was about $20,000 each, which for TCHP, supports 105 children for the entire school year.”
The race traditionally drew 600 entrants before COVID whittled numbers down.
“We would love to get to 600 runners again,” Cominsky said.
This year’s race is part of Space Coast Runners’ Runner of the Year Series, which should increase participation.
Viera Hospital pharmacy manager Kim Hunger, who is training for the Boston Marathon, believes participating in the race is a no-brainer.
“One of the things I love about the Fight Child Hunger 5K is that it’s in the dead of winter, which here in Brevard County is the ideal time to get out and break a sweat,” she said.
In addition to serving as title sponsor for the race, Health First is a huge supporter of TCHP, with teams from just about every department participating in packing meals to be distributed to schools. Such eagerness to help enables TCHP to serve about 3,000 at-risk students in 47 schools across the county.
“Health First’s mission is wellness,” said Bobby Ampezzan, spokesman for the health system.
‘We care about the wellness of all of us here, and that starts with our kids. No child in Brevard should have to go hungry. That’s fundamental.”
Fight Child Hunger 5k Run/Walk
When: 8 a.m., Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023
Where: Viera High School, 6103 Stadium Parkway
Race fee: $25/general; $22/SCR member; $30/virtual
Information and registration: runsignup.com/Race/Events/FL/Melbourne/FightChildHunger5K
The Children’s Hunger Project
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