ORLANDO, Fla. – The Simply IOA Corporate 5K, presented by Track Shack, brought out hundreds of people from around Central Florida Thursday.
Each person was in their running gear, ready to race the clock. The groups that joined the race also helped people in need by giving donations. The money was collected for Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida.
[TRENDING: Bride, caterer arrested after guests at Longwood wedding say food was laced with marijuana | Florida House expected to approve bill that would remove Disney special district | Become a News 6 Insider (it’s free!)]
Alongside the many people representing their companies in the race were a handful of first responders with Orange County Fire Rescue.
“We’re [going to] run as much as we possibly can until my knees start telling me it’s time to stop but we plan on running the whole time,” OCFR Battalion Chief Anthony Phillips said.
Unlike the other runners, he and his team took on the challenge in full bunker gear, but traded their usual footwear for gym shoes.
Phillips said it was fun for his team, but uniting to help people in need was top of mind.
“It’s a lot of people right now that are in need of some assistance and we want to make sure that we can be able to help by actually doing this great event today,” Phillips said.
His teammate, Battalion Chief Shannon Teamer, said it takes a village.
“Obviously we need food to survive and if we have it we need to give to others, and that’s what the donations are for,” Teamer said.
Jon Hughes is the race director for Track Shack. He said it has been a very difficult time for so many and he is moved that the community came together to help those who need it.
Enough money has been raised to serve more than 115,000 meals to families grappling with food insecurity.
“Those of us that are fortunate enough to be able to go out and buy what we need, we’re feeling the pinch, but those people who are right on the edge, it’s making things incredibly difficult at this time,” Hughes said.
The rising prices of groceries could worsen food insecurity for many Americans.
According to Consumer Reports, food prices surged an average 8.8% in March.
The costs for meat, poultry, fish, and eggs increased about 13.7%.
Race participants hope their run can lighten the blow on families as prices of everyday goods continue to creep up.
“Without others, without that village to take care of those in need, we wouldn’t survive,” Teamer said.
Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida will be providing boxes of food for families. One box can feed a family of four for an entire week.