4th Annual Race to Feed the Hungry raises more than $15,000

Local Harford County Councilman, Joe Woods (District B), presents Ames UMC with a citation signed by the Harford County Council, to Donna Lewis, Race to Feed the Hungry race director and member of the Harford County Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., and Rev. Jay Blake, pastor of Ames United Methodist Church, for their efforts to feed hungry citizens in Harford County.

The Harford Alumnae Chapter, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated sent along the following details about the 4th Annual Race to Feed the Hungry held May 12 at Annie’s Playground:

Local church partners with community, raises $15K to feed Harford County’s hungry

By Andricka Thomas

Harford Alumnae Chapter, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated


HARFORD COUNTY, Md. – Ames United Methodist Church sponsored its 4th Annual Race to Feed the Hungry May 12 at Annie’s Playground in Fallston, Md., raised more than $15,000 and donated 1,712 pounds of food to the Harford Community Action Agency Food Bank.


Nearly 500 participants from all over the Harford County and Baltimore metro area participated in this 5K Run/Walk in an effort to collect funds and donated food items to be donated to the Harford Food bank.


“It is truly tremendous when organizations donate in the spring and summer months,” said Donia Schmiege, HCAA Food Bank pantry assistant. She said food donations decrease during the warm seasons, compared to donations received during the winter holidays. “During the summer, children don’t have access to the free school lunches. Donations like this one make an incredible impact on our pantry. We look forward to the opportunity to work with the Race to Feed the Hungry event in the future.”


This year, the race outgrew the Annie’s Playground parking lot. Next year, the race will take place on Father’s Day Saturday, June 16, 2013, and start at Tollgate Park to allow for larger parking accommodations in the red lot near the park, according to Lewis.


The new pastor of Ames UMC, Rev. Jay Blake, who was appointed in July 2011, said he was astonished at what he witnessed that Saturday.


“I am excited about what God is going to do next year and am grateful for what our local churches and community have done for the past three years,” Blake said.


Local Harford County Councilman, Joe Woods (District B) presented Ames UMC with a citation signed by the Harford County Council, for their efforts to feed the hungry in the county. He said the event gives testament to the value added of activities and programs such as this race as being a necessary component to any functional government designed to help the community.


“As a young man I, too, fell on hard times and benefitted from food bank services. That’s why I lend my total support for events like this race,” said Woods. “This gives people the chance to be an active part of their community. Groups and churches provide avenues for people to get involved and take ownership of their communities. I was happy to give a helping hand to help enable the community to work together for the common good.”


This year, the race more than doubled its participants registering nearly 500 people and securing 30 in-kind and monetary sponsors to support the event.  Sponsors provided printing services, funds, and prizes for winners ranging in all ages.


The race first started with a need. A church’s need to feed the hungry.


“It started four years ago with the vision of a former pastor of Ames UMC, Rev. Winifred J. Blagmond. Her vision was that no child will go hungry in Harford County. She placed it in my lap and told me it was my baby and I was to rock it,” said Donna Lewis, race director.


And rock it she did. A runner for more than 30 years, Lewis began planning and credits the many supporters and community members for making the race a success.


“I didn’t do this alone,” said Lewis. “Our church and community has embraced this effort as it takes many hands and feet, especially on race day, to make it a success.”


Rev. Twanda Prioleau, of John Wesley United Methodist Church in Baltimore, helped coordinate the race when she served on Ames’ ministerial staff.


“We shared that vision,” Prioleau said of her current church’s involvement, “that no child would go to bed hungry. So we connected with Ames and Harford County’s Food Bank to reach as many people as we could.”


With the assistance of the Harford County Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta, Incorporated’s donation of approximately 45 boxes of non-perishable food to the food bank, and donations of registrants, local churches and other groups, this year’s Race to Feed the Hungry donated a total of 1,712 pounds of food to the food bank.


“The race has grown every year,” said George Weber, a runner who has participated since the race’s inception. “It’s a worthy cause and I love to run. It all falls under what Christ commands us to do…help others.” Weber said his wife and daughter also came out to walk the race.


“It’s a great way to help others and have fun at the same time,” he added.


Lewis, who is also a member of Harford County Alumnae Chapter’s Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated, has chaired the event since its start.


“I’m so excited at the turnout this year,” she said. “I am proud to say that we’ve doubled our numbers this year and collected more food than ever before. Thanks to all of our supporters and sponsors who helped make this year’s race a blessing to others.”


Some participants wore t-shirts in support of seven-year-old Grace, of Abingdon, who is recovering from cancer. ‘Team Grace,’ as displayed on their t-shirts, was formed in October 2011 to rally support for the family, and raise awareness about childhood cancer.


“Just five weeks after chemotherapy began, Grace was in complete remission,” said T’Jae Gibson, Grace’s mom. “That’s God continuing to work in our lives and we wanted to stand as witnesses and raise the awareness to other parents to go with their gut feelings when they suspect something may be wrong.”


Gibson said she was shocked to learn Grace’s diagnosis of T-cell Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma, but had she waited to take Grace to the doctor, it could have been worse.


According to the National Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, in 2011, about 662,789 people are living with lymphoma or are in remission (no sign of the disease). This number includes about 159,846 people with Hodgkin lymphoma and 502,943 people with NHL.


Grace will celebrate her eighth birthday this September.


“This is an event for us all to come together as a community and give back to those less fortunate than ourselves,” said Lewis. “I only pray that we continue to make an impact in Harford County.”


Lewis is involved in planning another race June 16 in Havre de Grace, Md., to help bring clean water to Africa. The “Walk on Water’ 5K Walk/Run will start at 7 a.m. For more information, visit http://www.dst-harfordcountyalumnae.org/ for registration information. To donate, visit http://thewaterproject.org/community/profile/deltas-county.


Local Sponsors included:

IDIM, Kohls, New Hope Baptist Church, Ames United Methodist Men, APGFCU, Pairings Bistro, Maui’s Car Wash, Harford Cleaners, Charm City Run, Buontempo Bros., Gold Medal Physical Therapy, Bel Air Anytime Fitness, Coffee, Coffee, Main Street Tower, First Nutrition of Bel Air, Rita’s, David O’Dea State Farm Insurance, Saxon’s Diamond Centers, BB& T, MD Quartermaster, Anthony’s Barber Salon, Harford County Alumnae Chapter Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Autowerkes, Benvenuto Jewelers, Law Offices of Cassandra R. Beverley, Strickland Eye Care, Rev. Winifred J. Blagmond, YTB Travel ~Joyce Kearney, Teddy the Tax Man, M & J Complete Auto Care, and Philip W. Halstead.