Race to benefit ForKids

Published 7:45 pm Wednesday, March 31, 2010

More than 600 people will be racing to help children and families this weekend.

Old Dominion University’s Recreation and Wellness and Army ROTC departments are hosting a Monarch 5K and Adventure Race on Saturday. The proceeds of the race will benefit the ForKids organization, which operates the Suffolk House homeless shelter on Finney Avenue.

“It’s important to us because any third-party fundraiser helps us immensely because we don’t have to put anything out to bring in the money,” said Priscilla Monti, spokeswoman for ForKids. “Right now, with the state of the economy, we need this partnership.”

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The 5K and Adventure Race will begin Saturday at 9 a.m. and 10 a.m., respectively, at the Student Recreation Center on the corner of Powhatan Avenue and 48th Street. Online registration is open until noon Thursday, but on-site registration is available the morning of the race at 7:30 a.m.

ForKids and ODU are interconnected in a number of ways, Monti said. Many ForKids staff are graduates of ODU, and several of their interns are Monarchs. Volunteers from the university help ForKids students create art for the annual art auction. If that weren’t enough, the two organizations are neighbors — ForKids owns several properties on West 38th Street in Norfolk, adjacent to ODU’s campus.

“It’s nice they have sort of adopted us,” Monti said. “We depend on ODU for a lot of help.”

ForKids’ services include homeless shelters and in-home support, which helps connect struggling families to resources that can help them stay in their homes. The services are desperately needed in the area, Monti said.

“The need for our services is growing and growing,” she said. Nearly every month, the organization sets new records for the number of people it serves.

“We helped 773 people in February,” Monti said. “We were able to provide those services because of community contributions.”

In addition to registration fees, the organization also will collect donations at the site.

The route for the 5K race snakes through the areas of 48th Street, Powhatan Avenue, 49th Street, Hampton Boulevard and 43rd Street. Participants can park in Lot 43 on the corner of Powhatan Avenue and 43rd Street.

To view a course map, visit www.odu.edu/recsports.

For more details, visit www.homesforkids.org or call 622-6400.