Human Race 5K raises money for 58 DuPage nonprofits
Nearly 2,000 walkers and runners hit the streets Saturday for the seventh annual DuPage Human Race 5K fundraiser in Downers Grove.
Entire families participated with children and pets in tow supporting a variety of causes benefiting 58 local charities.
"We just wanted to do something nice to give back to the community," said Amy Lee of Westmont, walking alongside husband, John, and their three young children. "It's something we could get the kids involved in. We did a fundraising page and raised money for the West Suburban Community Pantry."
Organized by Giving DuPage, the Human Race allows runners and walkers to pick which nonprofit group will benefit from their registration fees.
Some participating nonprofit groups sought to gain more visibility for their work through the walk.
Aris Musabji of Hinsdale walked to support his wife, Heena, and son, Sabeel, running in the race and also to represent Oak Park-based Pro Bono Network, a group of attorneys offering free legal help to people in need. He said the network is expanding services from Cook County into DuPage County.
"It's a nice charity event. It's a good way of creating some awareness of our organization, as well," he said.
Among the beneficiaries are charities and agencies working with children, animals and seniors, lending a hand to families in need, mentoring new parents and jobseekers, and helping with education and hunger -- all serving DuPage County residents.
"This is the first year that The Outreach House is participating," said coordinator Chris DeSmedt of Wheaton. "We're a small charity, but we really get a big bang out of this fundraiser."
The Lombard-based charity serves roughly 250 low-income families in Lombard and Villa Park, providing baby supplies, such as diapers and clothes, for children up to 3 years old.
"This year, it may be our biggest fundraiser," said DeSmedt adding, the group beat its goal of raising $3,000 even before the walk. She added, the biggest perk is "for so many charities to be able to participate without having to duplicate this and the cost to all of us for registration."
Organizers said Saturday's fundraiser surpassed the $575,000 mark for overall funds raised in the seven years. In the first six years, the race generated $476,211 for 135 local nonprofits.
Giving DuPage, a nonprofit that helps link volunteers and donors with charity opportunities, organizes the race on behalf of local organizations that don't have the resources to run such a large-scale fundraiser on their own.
"It's about getting these groups a little bit of extra support," said Shefali Trivedi, Giving DuPage executive director. "Some charities raise $300, some raise $3,000, some raise $30,000 ... all pay a one-time fee of $75 (to register)."