Doing It for a Cause: 4 Rides & Races That Do Good

Hunger Run (April 7)

Only in its third year, the popular Hunger Run is making a tremendous impact on the Spokane community. “Second Harvest and the Union Gospel Mission (UGM) have a long history of collaboration, working together to serve those in need. The two organizations built on that team spirit through the creation of the Inland Northwest Hunger Run in 2016, a healthy way to get involved in the fight against hunger in our region,” says Barb Comito, director of marketing and communications for UGM in Spokane.

So far, the Hunger Run has netted approximately $50,000, according to Julie Humphreys, Second Harvest’s community relations manager. This is divided evenly between Second Harvest and UGM. “Since we feed 55,000 each week in Eastern Washington and North Idaho, it takes many events and community partnerships to get food to those who need it most,” says Humphreys. “The awareness factor is huge as hunger happens all year,” she says. “It’s easy to forget there are many neighbors who struggle greatly to afford and access enough food to live a healthy life.”

Hauser Lake Icebreaker 10k & 5k Fun Run/Walk (April 8)

Double J Ranch, an all-volunteer non-profit organization that cares for dogs with special needs, primarily those who are blind and deaf, was founded by Cristene Justus in 2009. This annual event is the ranch’s largest fundraiser, raising about $10,000. The 50-acre ranch, which averages 15 dogs at a time, is where dogs are brought from shelters and provided a home environment. “They’re all together as a pack, no kennels or dog runs…We vet them and give them everything they need—and then adopt them out into homes,” she says. “We always take local dogs first, but also take dogs from all over the United States…[And we] educate people so they’re not fearful about adopting these dogs.”

In the past 4 years, event participation has doubled—there were around 500 people last year, and this year a 5k run/walk has been added. “We keep it family-focused and animal-friendly,” she says. Runners and walkers can participate with their dogs or while pushing strollers.

Lilac Century Bike Ride (May 20)

This year’s 25th annual event is the main fundraiser for the Spokane Aurora Northwest Rotary Club and its support of charitable projects, including college scholarships for local high school students; holiday food baskets for school children; book donations to low-income Spokane schools; and much more. “We also enjoying contributing to the opportunities for healthy physical activity for our community,” says Rotarian Andrew Biggs. He says the Lilac Century raises an average of $12,000 every year, and with a later event date this year and new partnership with Spokane’s Lilac Festival, he hopes participation will grow.

Chafe 150 Gran Fondo (June 16)

With 80 sponsors for this 11th annual ride who cover all event costs, according to Sandpoint Rotary member and Chafe 150 volunteer marketing director Elana Westphal, all race entry fees go to “the Pend Oreille School District for helping students with Autism Spectrum Disorder.” Since the Sandpoint Rotary took over organizing the event 5 years ago, Westphal says they have donated $210,000 to the school district to establish sustainable programs for local students on the autism spectrum. “These programs have served as the basis for social and emotional growth programs for all students in our school district.” Every year, she says, Chafe 150 averages 350 riders (500 max. can participate) and 110 volunteer, with the riders ranging in age from 6 to 87 years old. //


Feature photo: Everyone can help fight hunger at the Hunger Run

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