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MK5K returns for 13th annual event Wednesday evening

People are encouraged to register early.

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WORTHINGTON — Whether you want to run a 5K, take part in the two-mile family fun walk, or just sit back and relax and watch the runners and walkers return, organizers of the 13th annual MK5K are hoping for a good turnout as they once again raise funds for the Southwest Crisis Center and Mary Kay Foundation. Both causes are committed to creating safety through shelter programs for individuals and families experiencing domestic and/or sexual violence.

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The MK5K takes place Wednesday as part of the opening night’s activities at the Nobles County Fair in Worthington. Pre-registration for the event is already underway at mnswcc.org/mk5k, and people are encouraged to register early to ensure a T-shirt in their size. People may also register at the fairgrounds during check-in, which starts at 6 p.m.

Medals will be awarded to the top three in each of the men’s and women’s divisions of the 5K race.

In Nobles County, the Mary Kay Foundation and Southwest Crisis Center partnered a decade ago to raise funds and awareness of the need of sheltering victims of domestic violence. Tens of thousands of dollars have been raised since then, with much of that money staying local.

“We knew that the Mary Kay Foundation had the domestic shelters program, and we felt that was always a need for us,” said Sara Wahl, director of the Southwest Crisis Center in Worthington.

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Housing in all forms, from emergency shelters to emergency safe housing and safe homes, is something the community has long needed.

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And pairing the fundraiser with the county fair seems like the perfect venue, added Teresa Widboom, a local Mary Kay leader.

“It’s the perfect down-home, summertime atmosphere to rally around your community,” Widboom said. “There’s lots of people in the community who don’t have a great understanding about what happens (with the crisis center). The MK5K sheds light on what a difference they’re making here.”

Last year’s event raised more than $6,900, and every dollar helps.

“The vision really is bigger than the emergency options we have now, or the short-term housing we have now,” shared Wahl. “Not having a place to go is often a reason why people stay (in abusive situations). We feel really lucky that we can support them.”

Wahl said money raised from the MK5K goes into the crisis center’s direct client assistance fund. The money is dispensed to people for a variety of reasons, such as helping someone make a deposit if they have enough money only for one month’s rent. Funds may also be used to help a person relocate, rent a U-Haul, pay for transportation assistance, or emergency safe housing, which costs about $90 a night.

Being able to offer financial assistance can be empowering for people to make the decision to leave, added Widboom.

The MK5K is a family-friendly event, and Widboom noted that free food will also be served on Wednesday evening, so people can come out and make a donation to the MK5K if they don’t want to participate in the run or walk, and then eat for free.

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“Here we are celebrating summer, enjoying the little things, but let’s rally around a cause and do something for people in need,” Widboom said. “What I’ve appreciated is what it’s taught my family — we are here to help other people. That’s one of our biggest assignments on this earth.”

Those who would like to donate but are unable to attend the event may make a donation to the Southwest Crisis Center by mail at P.O. Box 111, Worthington MN 56187, or online at mnswcc.org/donate.

The event has numerous local sponsors that help to make it possible as well, including Bedford Industries, Brown’s Shoe Fit, Culligan, First State Bank Southwest, Hy-Vee, JBS, Nickel & Associates, RadioWorks, ReMax, DJ Barry Roberts, Sanford, Veterinary Medical Center and Worthington Chiropractic.

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Julie Buntjer became editor of The Globe in July 2021, after working as a beat reporter at the Worthington newspaper since December 2003. She has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism from South Dakota State University.
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