Lace up to help Brevard’s children at the Health First Fight Child Hunger 5K Run/Walk – Florida Today

Lace up to help Brevard’s children at the Health First Fight Child Hunger 5K Run/Walk  Florida Today

It’s that time of year again: Lace up your sneakers, stretch your legs and sign up to do something good for Brevard County children.

The Health First Fight Child Hunger 5K Run/Walk is scheduled for 8 a.m. Jan. 16 at Viera High School. This year, due to COVID-19, there is also a virtual option. 

Regardless of how you participate, in person or virtually, 100% of the money raised will go to help feed children on the Space Coast. The race is a collaboration between the Children’s Hunger Project and The Sharing Center of Central Brevard. I’m fortunate enough to be the honorary race chair for the second year in a row.


The Children’s Hunger Project, which celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2020, feeds 2,400 children weekly in Brevard Public Schools, and supports distribution from other sites around the county such as Club Esteem. The demand for their services grew significantly during the early days of the pandemic. The pandemic has also made the need for volunteer weekend meal packers more important than ever.

The Sharing Center of Central Brevard provides 145 units of food each week to 11 elementary schools. A unit includes breakfast, lunch and dinner to feed a family of four over a two-day period. They also help deliver Children’s Hunger Project food packages to Central Brevard schools.

It’s well known that the COVID-19 pandemic has strained many families in Brevard. If you’re a regular reader of FLORIDA TODAY, you know the stories about people who never had to ask for help before. People who lost their jobs due to the coronavirus shutdown or saw their hours cut back significantly and now have to worry about paying the bills and providing for their families. The need already existed in Brevard — and now it’s worse.


David Brubaker, president/CEO of the Sharing Center, said he asked a school counselor about the impact of their program.

This is what he said he was told:

“Many of my families are working paycheck to paycheck and many times have to decide between bills to be paid and food on the table. They tell me the relief it brings them not to have to worry if they will be able to feed their children over the weekend and how it improves their home lives and the time they spend with their children.

“We also see the impact here at school. When children come to school with their basic needs met, they are better able to focus and learn. It sets them up to be more successful and to change their lives as they grow and make decisions for themselves.

“The food represents a sort of freedom for them from worry about what they will eat when they are not here at school. They look for the bags each week. It brings them joy and peace.”

More:Ten years later, need is greater than ever for kids served by Children’s Hunger Project

I hope you join me — virtually or in-person — in running or walking the Fight Child Hunger 5K and thus contributing to a cause that helps children in our county.

Like everything, this race will be different than in past years. 


For virtual runners, sign-up is the same but you run on your own time and choose your own route.

For those who are participating in person, organizers ask that all runner bags, which will include finisher medals, be picked up in advance at Running Zone on Wickham Road in Melbourne. On race day, runners should wait in their car until their designated start time and wear masks at the start and finish line. As runners come through the finish line, they’ll get their pancake breakfast “to go.” The goal is to safely social distance and keep people from congregating.

Signing up is easy: Click here or go to runsignup.com/Race/Fl/Melbourne/FightChildHunger5K. Registration ends Jan. 14.

“The Fight Child Hunger 5K goal continues to be to provide as many children/families with weekend nutrition as we can especially amid increasing needs,” said Cheryl Cominsky, executive director of Children’s Hunger Project.

“This year more than ever we need help to raise the awareness of hunger in our community,” Brubaker added.

Contact Bellaby at mbellaby@floridatoday.com.