Michelle Abrams found out two out of five Navarre students go hungry during the weekend.
So she started Outreach Navarre which provides bagged meals for Saturday and Sunday to needy youth, who attend one of the six schools in Navarre.
Now in its fifth year, the program serves 477 of the 2,392 Navarre students on the Santa Rosa County School District’s Free and Reduced Lunch program.
To continue to serve the students, the organization run totally by volunteers plans to operate its inaugural Hunger Heroes 5K on April 27 at Navarre Beach with the goal of raising half of its annual $80,000 budget.
“We live in paradise but so many families are struggling,” Abrams said. “That’s astounding to me. We must alleviate their hunger anyway possible.”
Colleen Hosaka said about 20 people from Holley-Navarre Primary plan to sign up for the 5K to support the program that provides meals to 80 children at their school.
“(Abram’s) organization has done so much for our students,” Hosaka said. “We are very, very grateful for the program.”
The Weekend Food Program of Navarre is part of Outreach Navarre.
Warm-ups for the first Hunger Heroes 5K on April 27 start at 7 a.m. and the race begins at 8 a.m. Registration for the run lasts through April 10.
The fee is $30 per person for up to three runners. Teams of four are $25 per person.
Late registration from April 11-24 costs $35 per person for up to three runners, while teams of four are $25 person. Registration the day of the 5K event is $40 person.
Registration online at https://www.outreachnavarre.com/heroes-5k closes at midnight April 24. The price of each registration covers one student’s meals for a month.
After the race, the Sand Crab Pavilion on Navarre Beach will celebrate the runners and provide family entertainment with local food vendors, a live DJ, pet rescues, Navarre Beach Marine Science Center and more.
The Hunger Heroes 5K is 100 percent volunteer-staffed and all proceeds from the event will go toward Outreach Navarre and its programs.
“Our goal is for the Hunger Heroes 5K to be the biggest 5K in the Panhandle,” Abrams said. “Our programs are growing, and this 5K is designed to engage families who want to help. When we first started out in 2015, we had no idea that our program would be needed as much as it is.”
In addition to providing weekend meals and snacks for students, the organization began funding Foundations of Personal Finance classes as part of the sixth grade Holley- Navarre Middle School Critical Thinking classes in 2018. Learn more about Outreach Navarre at outreachnavarre.com.