Camping, fireworks, trips to the beach, and lots of food. These are the things that typically fill up a family’s Canada Day celebrations. But for the Devries, VanderPloeg, and Hummel families in Shallow Lake, Ontario, the day also includes running and a commitment to helping disaster survivors.
On June 29, 2013 the family will gather for their third annual “Canada Day Family 5k” and will raise several thousand dollars for those in need along the way.
“For the last few years, around the Canada Day weekend, our family camps-out at my parents’ farm in Shallow Lake, Ontario,” explains Lindsey De Vries, one of the race’s organizers. “A number of my family members had taken to running and talked of participating in a 5k race together, but most of those races are on Sunday mornings when we are in church. That led to the development of the family 5k race.”
The family wanted to do more than just run. They also wanted to raise money for a good cause. The cause closest to their hearts was World Renew’s Disaster Response Services (DRS) program – a program which sends volunteers to disaster sites across the United States and Canada to assess needs, clear debris, repair or rebuild homes, and extend Christ’s love to disaster survivors.
We are all so impressed by the stewardship employed and respect earned by World Renew around the world, that there was no question about where this money should go
“My grandparents, Gerrit and Elizabeth Vander Ploeg, were long-time volunteers with World Renew DRS and built up many memories. They passed down their enthusiasm to their kids and grandkids and I’ve also participated in a few DRS and World Renew work projects. We are all so impressed by the stewardship employed and respect earned by World Renew around the world, that there was no question about where this money should go,” said De Vries.
At first the 20 or so family members who wanted to run planned to each donate a “registration fee,” but the family got so excited about the event that they decided to take it one step further and fundraise with their friends and neighbors to see how much could be raised.
That first year, the family raised $1,450. On July 2, 2011 about 25 members of the family – from young to old – ran, walked or jogged the five kilometer route of the race. Some family members hosted a half-way point water stop. Others monitored traffic in case cars came down the normally quiet road. Two “water-boys” even travelled the route on a golf cart and cooled off racers with a water gun along the way.
“My grandpa is in his 80’s and he was able to break out his green World Renew DRS t-shirt for the occasion,” said De Vries.
The following year, 20 runners raised an additional $1,685. This year the process is already underway to raise even more money to help disaster survivors.
The family is also wondering who will take home the coveted trophy for first place in the run. So far, young David De Boer has won both years of the race.
“I can’t express enough how excited we all are about this event and how God has poured out his blessings upon it,” De Vries said on behalf of her family. “I pray that the money raised can be used through World Renew to pass along God’s blessings to others.”