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Kids Against Hunger to sponsor 5K walk/run

LAKEFIELD -- By walking just five kilometers Saturday, participants in the Jackson County Kids Against Hunger 5K Road Race will deliver nutritious and tasty hotdish to needy people all over the world.

"The runners tell us that our course is flat. They love the number of water stations and everything that we have, so they claim that this is an excellent route to get one of your best times," said Marless Cuperus, Kids Against Hunger fundraising coordinator for Lakefield.

The cause could hardly be better. Kids Against Hunger sends meals to Haiti, Honduras, Malawi, Guyana, Tanzania, Liberia, Mexico and food shelves in Minnesota, South Dakota and New Mexico.

The rice, vegetable and soy meals are assembled by volunteers, and according to Cuperus, taste like a good chicken hotdish.

Each meal costs only 10 cents because generous volunteers and contributors provide trucks and warehouses to store the food so that costs are kept low. In most places, the Kids Against Hunger meals cost 23 cents apiece to make -- Minnesotans can make twice the meals with the same amount of money.

When the dry food is put together and packaged, a volunteer goes with the food to its destination, ensuring it goes to the right place and does not end up in a warehouse or on the black market. Instead, the food goes to those who need it in orphanages, refugee stations, disaster shelters or to other organizations that feed the hungry.

The Jackson County Kids Against Hunger organization is in its fourth year. Every year, its goal is to raise enough money to make 100,000 meals -- $10,000. So far, they have not achieved that goal, but have come close each year, with only two fundraisers -- the winter chili cook-off and the summer walk/run.

While serious runners are definitely welcome at the walk/run, people who just want to walk and have some fun are welcome, too.

Many prizes and certificates will be given out, including awards for the fastest runner, the runner who brings in the most pledges and the fastest finisher with wheels -- won last year by a person pushing a child in a stroller.

"There's no end of community fun you can bring in to the thing," Cuperus said. "There's no reason that you can't have a really, really good time."

The race course is all in Lakefield.

Kids Against Hunger's southwest Minnesota branch started in Lakefield but has already expanded to Jackson, Heron Lake and Okabena, with plans for a Windom organization in the works.

The community has rallied around the organization and its walk/run event, which this year has 22 sponsors.

Participants can register for the run at 7 a.m. Saturday, with the runners beginning at 8 a.m. and the walkers beginning at 8:30 a.m. at North Park in Lakefield. Signs will be posted to help direct people to the park from Minnesota Highway 86.

"Anybody that has run in Grandma's (Marathon), this is a nice little relaxing slowdown race, and (for) anyone that's going to be running in the (University of Okoboji Marathon and Half Marathon), this is a nice little tune-up race," Cuperus said.

Anyone interested in becoming a sponsor or donating to the organization may write a check to Kids Against Hunger and send it to 908 North Pleasant St., Lakefield, 56150.

Visit the City of Lakefield's Web site at

for a printable copy of the race registration form.