A nighttime road race that supports UGA student-powered hunger relief is the perfect run for Brad Turner.
The LEAD Athens Moonlight 5K on April 7 combines two passions for Brad Turner, coordinator of Campus Kitchen at UGA (CKUGA), a program run through the UGA Office of Service-Learning.
“It’s a unique race and I think it’s pretty cool how we could bring both our interests together to make it something folks would enjoy,” Turner said. “It’s really fun to train for, knowing the proceeds are going to go to a program I feel really strongly about. Campus Kitchen gets to use it as an opportunity to communicate our mission.”
Turner finished first in a driving rain during the 2016 race, the first year its proceeds went to Campus Kitchen. This is the second straight year LEAD Athens, a leadership program sponsored by the Athens Area Chamber of Commerce, has chosen the UGA organization as the beneficiary and both groups are thrilled with the partnership.
“We saw working with Campus Kitchen as an opportunity to get more UGA involvement in the race,” said LEAD Athens’ Lindsay Brannen. “The collaboration last year was phenomenal so our board voted all in favor to work with them again this year.”
The race’s 95 participants generated around $2,500 for Campus Kitchen last year and Brannen said she’d like to see the event eclipse 100 runners this year. That money helped Turner and his colleagues continue to deliver nearly 250 meals per week to needy Athens residents.
In 2017 alone, Campus Kitchen has turned nearly 30,000 pounds of food that would otherwise be discarded by groceries, farms and farmers markets into fully prepared meals. Recipients include Grandparents Raising Grandchildren, a program run through the Athens Community Council on Aging, Meals on Wheels clients, and Athens Housing Authority residents at Denney Tower.
Turner said funds raised through the 5K will help with equipment purchases, like new pressure cookers, and provide funding to keep deliveries going when UGA is not in session during the summer.
“Hunger is a constant need,” Turner said. “You can’t just volunteer when you feel like it or when the resources are there. We’re a year-round operation and we depend on the Athens community support at-large to help us with volunteer needs in the summer.”
The night race is April 7 at 10 p.m. at First American Bank in downtown Athens. Registration is $20 online until March 31. Race-day registration is $25 with a $100 cash price going to the overall male and female winners.