Supporter Highlight: Junior Women’s Club of Perquimans County
By Tracey Stipp, Samaritan’s Feet Marketing Volunteer
The women of the Junior Women’s Club of Perquimans County, Hertford, NC recently sponsored a 5K race to help raise funds for Samaritan’s Feet. Using their passion for fitness as a way to raise awareness for children and people in need is a story that is inspiring in its simplicity. A common, everyday activity such as running can impact people’s lives around the world with a little bit of forethought and planning. Let’s hear what Erica Gregory of the Women’s Club had to say about the experience.
What first caught your attention about Samaritan’s Feet and the work they do to care and to encourage people by giving them shoes and meeting one of their most basic needs?
Although we are an organization not affiliated with any one religious belief, the fact that Samaritan’s Feet is a Christian organization is what first caught my attention. The love, humility, and selflessness shown to a person by washing their feet and giving them a pair of new shoes is just so beautiful to me. Providing free shoes was also part of catching my attention. Shoes are a great love of mine, and I know that a new pair of shoes can change your attitude.
What inspired you to sponsor a 5K race to benefit Samaritan’s Feet?
Our group knew we wanted to do something big as a fundraiser. We wanted to partner with an organization that not only represented our club but one that also represented the General Federation of Women’s Clubs. We are a fun-loving, caring, servant minded group, who just happen to love SHOES! Shoes, hope, and serving others; what’s not to love?! While our initial idea was to fundraise for our community by doing a 5K, it was the partnership with Samaritan’s Feet and the goal to “provide new shoes and hope for a person in need,” that gave vision and purpose to our journey.
What do you hope to accomplish by putting the motto “to provide new shoes and hope for a person in need” on the souvenir t-shirts and water bottles from the race?
Most people take every day clothing items like shoes for granted. Having the motto on race day memorabilia gives participants opportunities to think about the true essence of Samaritan’s Feet. There are so many great organizations out there, but often people overlook the ones that take care of basic necessities. The motto shows that while yes, shoes are a necessity, they are so much more; they are hope.
How many runners ran the 5K and what financial goal did you reach?
We had 64 participants and 80 registrants. When deciding how to pay for the timing company, water bottles and other race day goods, our 5K committee decided that we would allocate all money from registration to Samaritan’s Feet. Registration for the race was $25. We do not yet have an exact dollar amount on the financial goal that was met, but speaking for the group, we were all very pleased with the turn out.
Were you encouraged to see runners of all ages coming out to support Samaritan’s Feet?
Yes! I think it goes to show that no matter what your age is, people are willing to help for a good cause, especially when that cause helps others with such basic needs. I think that kids, even more so than adults, understand and appreciate the happiness that can come from a basic need being met.
Why do you think the goals of Samaritan’s Feet appeal to young and old people, singles, families and basically people from all walks of life?
The appeal lies in the goodness and simplicity of the mission and its goals, and the hope that is provided to others through the organization. All people, regardless of age, religion, ethnicity, or gender, understand how important it is to do something good and kind for a fellow human being. Those who are fortunate know what it is like to put on a new pair of shoes, and they appreciate helping others enjoy tangible hope through a new pair of shoes.
Do you plan on making the 5K race an annual event? If so, what advice would you give to others who would like to support Samaritan’s Feet by starting their own 5K race?
YES! We do plan on making the 5K an annual event. This 5K race surpassed all of our expectations. After the race, I received an email from a club member whose co-worker came out to volunteer and who was already encouraging us to go ahead and set a date for next year. I had one runner after the race suggest to me that we collect shoes next year along with the registration fee. My advice to others would be to start early and to allow plenty of time to plan. Make sure you have a safe location for your runners to run. The beauty of this event is that you can tweak it and design it to fit your organization’s personality while working towards a great cause. The interaction with the people at Samaritan’s Feet was invaluable to me. They gave me advice, encouragement, and were extremely helpful with all of our design needs (i.e. flyers, t-shirts, water bottles, and banner). We could NOT have done it without them.
Thanks for the great story, Erica! We look forward to hearing about future 5K races!