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5K Home Run returns from 3-year hiatus to raise money for Family Promise

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The 5K Home Run benefitting Family Promise of Lawrence will bring athletes to South Park over the long weekend for the organization’s first in-person race in three years.

The annual Memorial Day event returns to South Park on Monday, May 30, for its 10th year. The live race will begin at 8:30 a.m., and will include options for runners, walkers, joggers with strollers, and competitors with dogs on a leash. Money raised will benefit Family Promise, an organization that provides prevention, crisis, and stabilization services to families experiencing homelessness in Lawrence.

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An option for virtual participants kicks off on Tuesday, May 24, and continues through the live event. Virtual competitors can complete a 5K on their own schedule.

For the in-person 5K, KU student-athletes Earl Bostick Jr., Jalon Daniels, Kenny Logan Jr., Devin Neal and Ky Thomas will be at the park to cheer participants on, present medals, and “race” very young attendees in a fun run that will take place during the festivities.

“We appreciate these student-athletes helping to raise much-needed funds for and awareness of our work,” Dana Ortiz, executive director of Family Promise, said in a press release about the event.

Registration for either event is $30 per individual, or $25 per person for teams of four or more participants. Race-day registration for the live event is $35, and will be open until 8:15 a.m.

Family Promise is a national organization that began on the east coast in 1986 coordinating resources to provide shelter, meals, and housing to families experiencing homelessness. A Lawrence affiliate was established in 2008 utilizing volunteers and local church congregations to provide support and shelter to children and families struggling locally.

Today, the organization offers a day center, temporary housing options, rental assistance and housing grants to prevent homelessness, and additional services supporting families who need help stabilizing their living situations. The past two years have seen an increased need for services as families were affected by COVID-19.

“Since the COVID pandemic began in March 2020, Family Promise has served more than 720 families, including over 1,600 children,” Ortiz said. “That’s the student population of Lawrence High School — yet family homelessness remains hidden from our wider community.”

Money raised from the 5K will support programming at Family Promise, whose funding totaled $2.1 million in 2020. New issues that arose during the pandemic expanded needed services to include meals and groceries for families in shelter, rental and utility assistance, personal hygiene products, COVID cleaning supplies and personal protective equipment, courier and delivery services, moving assistance, errand assistance and check-in phone calls.

Monday’s festivities at South Park will include the fun run, bounce houses, face painting and giant bubbles. All registrants will receive a T-shirt. Prizes will be awarded for top fundraisers and largest teams.

Registration and additional information about the event are online on the 5K Home Run page. Details about the organization can be found on the Lawrence Family Promise website.

A Jayhawk fan focuses on a giant bubble during family activities that were part of the 2019 5K Home Run benefitting Family Promise of Lawrence. (Contributed photo / Megan Olmsted, Olmsted Photography)
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