Bunny Run 5K to raise money for school, shelter

By Jason A. Smith
Times Correspondent

Organizers of a long-running fundraiser are putting a new spin on an existing idea, in an effort to help themselves as well as children in need.

L. to r.: Ruth McCormick, Laney Grace Westbrook and Riley Terrell participated in the 2014 Bunny Run. Special photo

McDonough Methodist Academy, at 151 Macon St., will host its annual Bunny Run 5K Race on March 28, at 8 a.m.

The race route will travel through the streets of downtown McDonough. The day’s events will also feature a one-mile walk, a complimentary pancake breakfast for participants, and activities for children.

The Bunny Run, in recent years, has helped the academy to implement more technology in its classrooms for teachers and students. The academy’s race coordinator, Kim Baldwin, said funds from this year’s race will help the school to do so even more.

“This year we will use funds raised to finish outfitting our classrooms with this technology, as well as update older wiring throughout our building so that this newer technology can be supported,” she said. “Since we strive to keep tuition costs as low as possible, but still want to provide an education that rivals larger private schools in the area, we need to raise crucial funds through the Bunny Run to accomplish our technology goals every year.”

Baldwin said organizers of the race hope to have 400-500 participants for the “family-friendly” event, and to raise more than $20,000 through registrations and sponsorships.

While the academy is using the race to raise money for its own needs, a portion of the proceeds will also be designated to help children in crisis. The school has chosen to raise money for A Friend’s House, a shelter which provides emergency and long-term care for abused, neglected, and abandoned children in Henry County.

“While we realize that our academy has needs, our greater community also has needs that have to be met,” said Baldwin. “We want to teach our students that helping others in our community is very important. This year we chose to support A Friend’s House because it is an organization focused on helping and changing the lives of children in the most difficult of situations. They are providing children with not only shelter when it is needed, but a loving home in which they can feel secure.”

Baldwin added that leaders at the academy hope the fundraising effort will send a positive message to the children there.

“We want to teach our students that just as we tithe to the church, we should also set aside money to help others in need,” she said. “We certainly hope God will bless A Friend’s House and the children they serve with the donation we will be able to provide to them after our race. We also hope we can educate more people about A Friend’s House and bring more attention to their needs.”

A Friend’s House has served nearly 2,000 children since opening its doors nearly 16 years ago, said Nan Jenkins, director of development for the shelter. She said although the shelter has hosted a Love Run fundraiser in past years, plans changed after McDonough Methodist Academy selected the shelter to reap benefits from the upcoming race.

A Friend’s House is gearing up for its own annual fundraiser, a Taste of Henry, scheduled for April 17. Jenkins said the shelter relies on donations to continue in meeting kids’ needs, and that she appreciates the academy’s help in doing so this year.

“We are responsible for raising 46 percent of our budget through fundraising, donations and grants,” said Jenkins. “Instead of doing our Love Run that we normally do, we are just trying to encourage everyone to do the Bunny Run. We were really honored that they chose us. One of our favorite things is kids helping kids, so we’re just proud that they chose us for this endeavor.”

To register online for the Bunny Run, visit www.active.com and search for Bunny Run.

For more information, call the academy at 770-957-4131.