Nisha Hickok, a 9 year old from Hinesburg, teaches us a lot about having a big heart and running for social change! As a member of Girls on the Run (a youth development program for girls whose mission is to instill confidence, and establish a lifelong love of fitness), her sensitivity for other children who are food insecure blossomed.
May 16, an overcast windy day, set the stage at CVU for the commencement of the 3rd annual Hearts for Hunger 5K/1K event (sponsored by the United Church of Hinesburg). The purpose of the event was to fundraise for the Vermont Foodbank Backpack Program (a program to feed food insecure students during weekends and holidays). With 110 participants, 22 community volunteers –20 members from Girls on the Run Hinesburg with their coaches, and about 80 something community athletes, friends and families– set out to run/walk, inspire, community build and fundraise for this important cause. The event raised just over $6,500. With our donation last year, the Vermont Foodbank was able to bring this valuable service to two new towns.
Although the earnings from Hearts for Hunger this year were an amazing success, the learning that was evident in this event was just as momentous. Nisha Hickok earned $460 herself; when she heard of this event, she took matters into her own hands, posted a video on Facebook, and promptly began raising dollars. Merrill Jacobs and Ryann Estey were also recognized for their substantial fundraising efforts. In Nisha’s words, “Girls on the Run is not only about running; it’s about making friends, and learning about who you are. When I heard about Hearts for Hunger, I thought this was a good reason to raise money. I asked my Mom about the fundraiser and made a video for Facebook. When the 5K arrived, I ran the whole thing! It made me feel good about myself, that I could do anything I wanted to!”
We welcome others to join us next year and give special thanks to our sponsors, Papa Nicks Restaurant of Hinesburg, PT 360 in Shelburne, Fleet Feet in Essex, Race Directors Meaghan McKenna and Katie Dooley, local photographer Daniel Woodworth, and our numerous volunteers who made this day possible. Thank you to everyone who supported this ‘heart-felt’ community event!