WHEATON – Thousands of people are expected to participate April 1 in the Foodie 5K at Cantigny Park near Wheaton, to benefit the Northern Illinois Food Bank and its goal of solving hunger in its 13-county service area, including DuPage County.
The fourth annual race, which will start at 9 a.m., is one of three races in the area this year that will benefit the food bank in Geneva. Last year, the three races raised more than $216,000 for the nonprofit. Every dollar raised provides $8 worth of food, said Elizabeth Gartman, communications manager for the food bank.
Shaw Media, which owns Suburban Life Media, is a sponsor of the Foodie 5K in Wheaton. This year's Foodie 5K race series will feature an all-new course at Lewis University in Romeoville. Last year, the race was at the Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet.
Registration per race is $35 for adults and $15 for children ages 6 to 12. Children 5 and younger are free. The race will go on, rain or shine.
The public is invited to come out and cheer on the runners and walkers. They also are welcome to check out the Foodie Fest area, which will have eight gourmet food trucks and a kids zone featuring various games.
Along with the race Sept. 9 at Lewis University, a race will once again be at Independence Grove in Libertyville on May 13.
The Foodie 5K race series is becoming a popular fundraising event for the organization, Gartman said.
"It's our second or third largest event," she said. "We thought it was a good fit for fitting in with our mission."
As of March 24, more than 1,000 people had registered for the Cantigny race.
Last year, the Northern Illinois Food Bank distributed more than 13 million meals in DuPage County. About 8 percent of DuPage County's population, or 74,000 residents, is food insecure, Gartman said.
"Over 32,000 of them are children, so that's a lot," she said. "Obviously in this day and age we hate to see children going hungry. So we have a lot of work to do."
More than 80 percent of the food distributed by the Northern Illinois Food Bank is donated from retailers, manufacturers and farmers and through community food drives.
Those who want to participate in the Foodie 5K don't have to be athletic.
"You can walk or run, or you can also volunteer," Gartman said.
Volunteers are needed to do such things as direct traffic, distribute water to participants, and guide and cheer on participants on the course. All volunteers must be 8 years old or older. Volunteers 8 to 15 years old will need to register with an adult.
All volunteers must be willing to work outside. An official Foodie 5K volunteer T-shirt will be given to volunteers helping on race day only.
Those who want to volunteer can sign up through Northern Illinois Food Bank's website, solvehungertoday.org.
"It's a great opportunity for families who might be interested," Gartman said.
If you go
What: The Foodie 5K to benefit Northern Illinois Food Bank
When: 9 a.m. April 1
Where: Cantigny Park, 1S151 Winfield Road near Wheaton