SJVC Visalia Races Against Hunger
Almost 70 SJVC Visalia Corporate and campus staff, faculty and students postponed Thanksgiving preparations that Thursday morning to join about 3,000 runners, 2,000 walkers and 280 kids in the Visalia Emergency Aid Council’s Race Against Hunger.
“The energy from the event was amazing!” says Lori Jeffcoach, DA instructor. “It was so much fun; and I think this event will definitely become a tradition for me and my family.”
Twenty-five Physician Assistant program students, along with various other programs’ students, solicited sponsors for their race that helped raise funds for this event.
For nine years the 5k run has been VEAC’s largest event, and provides funds to support those in need in the Visalia community. This year’s race netted approximately $80,000 – almost $10,000 more than last year.
“All the money raised at this event gets us through the holidays and through June and July”, says Iris East, VEAC Director.
Eighty-two years in business, the Visalia Emergency Aid Council is the largest and oldest food bank in Tulare County and provides emergency services for over 14,000 families each year. Their primary mission is to feed, clothe and give shelter to families with children and to provide a means for others to help those in need. Their food pantry assists over 1,000 families each month, by providing nutritional food, and their VEAC Thrift Store provides free or low-cost clothing, household goods and reconditioned furniture and appliances.
Monica Urmson, Assistant to Physician Assistant Program Director, has been working with the VEAC for about 20-years. “I was taught by my family that no one should ever go without food – especially a child,” she says. Involving Monica’s whole family was important to her to not only help those less fortunate, but to instill in her kids the importance of helping others. “My children have helped out with food and toy distribution, and working the race since they were little.”
San Joaquin Valley College has been a strong supporter of the Visalia Emergency Aid Council for over twenty years and is proud of their staff and students for the years of enthusiasm and effort they have contributed.
The races on Thanksgiving morning didn’t make a huge demand on the thousands of participants. “The race started at 8:00 AM, and I was home basting the turkey a half-hour later,” says Monica. Her family’s Thanksgiving Day likely felt just a little more blessed.