Running miles, bringing smiles

The Corpus Christi Food Bank hosted its 13th annual Miles for Meals 5K Run/Walk on January 21 at Waters Edge Park. 

All proceeds from the event will benefit the Coastal Bend Food Bank’s Kids’ Backpack program. This aims to provide a bag of nPtritious food to students who are identified as food insecure. From beginning to end, there was music, dancing, and all around a positive and fun environment as more than 400 were bouncing around in an attempt to stay warm.  

The Carroll Tiger cheerleaders got the party started as they were doing synchronized cheers to the music. Walmart, one of the main sponsors of the event, had a tent with people handing out water bottles and bananas before the run. For spectators, there were some food and drink options from Bandas Raspas and Big J’s Fresh Lemonade food trucks including a smart move by Big J’s to sell hot chocolate. About 20 minutes before the runs started, Coach Arisola from the Zachary Kolda Running club led warm-up stretches for all the children and anyone else who wanted to prepare for the event. Named after Zachary Kolda, a fallen Marine, the elementary school showed their support to the food bank by bringing out their running club full of energetic youngsters and being the center of all the activities.  

Joel Vasquez, one of the event coordinators, explained the process and meaning behind the Miles for Meals event. 

“Some kids may not have the best nutrition at home, whether they’re underprivileged or just struggle with finding foods they’ll eat, teachers notice kids all the time who could use an extra snack at home,” Vasquez said. “With the Miles for Meals Program, Teachers will receive pre-packaged Ziploc bags full of nutritious and enjoyable snacks that they will slip into the backpacks of children they’ve identified as food insecure on Fridays to help them have a better weekend.” 

Vasquez said the event has had a strong growth each year, with the previous event in 2021 having about 275 runners, to this year having 375 participants. 

Bea Hanson, executive director of the event, said she was pleased with the outcome and that it’s always a joy to come out and meet people in the community for a good purpose.  

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