On Oct. 5 at 10 a.m. runners will line up in front of Pitza 42 to run in honor of a South African child thousands of miles away in the inaugural Run for 2 5k.
With this race, Pitza 42 wants to give the community the opportunity to not only provide meals to children, but connect with them as well.
Restaurant owners Austin and Ashton Samuelson recently took a trip to Nicaragua and Swaziland in southern Africa at the end of June. The couple was able to meet the children they work to raise money to feed each day.
Race packets will come with a race bib for the runner, an additional bib for the child for whom they are running, as well as a photo of that child and a brief bio about the child.
“The stories will all be a little bit different,” Austin said. “Half of them will come from Swaziland and another portion of them will come from Nicaragua.”
The race will also honor children from Zambia as part of the Zambia Project supported by Chi Alpha fraternity of The University of Central Arkansas.
The $10 is enough to feed a child for a month with $6.66 going toward the feeding program. The remaining funds will go toward funding the race and T-shirt costs.
“That $6.66, equals a month of meals at 22 cents each,” Ashton said. “For some of these children, they only eat one meal a day. This is the one meal they can count on.”
The $10 may not go to feed the specific child the runner receives in their race packet, but the children are meant to act as representatives of who the Conway community is feeding when they participate in the race.
An internship team of nine UCA students are working with Ashton to put on the race. Three of the interns spent the summer working at a feeding center in Nicaragua.
“That’s a big passion of ours too,” Ashton said, “to inspire, empower and disciple college students.”
Early registration for $10 is available online until Sept. 15. Early registrants will receive a T-shirt, and their entry fee will feed a hungry child for a month. Late registration is $15. T-shirts are not available for late registrants, but their entry fee will provide enough meals to feed a child for two months.
The race is another way for the restaurant to raise money to end world hunger. Pitza 42 traditionally raises money through the sale of food, T-shirts and donations.
Every 22 cents the company makes is deposited into an account, and four to five times a year, a payment is made to non-profit Feed My Starving Children to purchase the ingredients for a MobilePack, where the community comes together to pack a specially designed food formula of rice, soy and dehydrated vegetables for malnourished children.
The organization on the ground feeding the children is Children’s Cup, which works primarily in southern Africa including Zimbabwe, Swaziland, Mozambique and South Africa.
It starts with food, but the organization also works to provide the children with education and health care needs, ultimately resulting in job training.
Pitza 42 has participated in two MobilePack events since its inception. The first event created 109,000 meals, and last year they packed 272,000 meals.
Austin said 30 percent of the meals created come from money that is donated directly into the canister beside the register in the restaurant.
“People drop 20s in there,” he said. “It is amazing how generous everybody is.”
Local banks, organizations, businesses, college groups and churches have contributed to the cause as well.
“We like to tell people it’s not just Pitza 42,” Austin said. “It’s a community effort.”
With contributions from the Conway community, Pitza 42 has raised 438,000 meals to date.
“We are really excited about the race, because we have witnessed the passion Conway people have for making a difference and helping those who need it most,” Austin said. “The race is a perfect outlet for that.”
Live music and Pitza 42 snacks will be provided. The race will be officially timed by the Conway Running Club.
To register visit: http://www.pitza42.com/run-for-2/
To watch a video about the race visit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wt6IxpsJyu8
(Staff writer Michelle Corbet can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 505-1215. To comment on this and other stories in the Log Cabin, log on to www.thecabin.net. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit)