Memorial 5K will continue to help feed local children

Published 11:01 pm Friday, April 10, 2020



Not only has the annual Jennie Carol Memorial Mother’s Day 5K changed dates, but it is also changing race management.

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The fund-raising event has always been on Mother’s Day weekend in Danville to honor Jennie Carol Black Tarter who died one week after finishing her second Derby Festival Mini Marathon in 2008 when she choked and collapsed during a celebratory dinner.

Friends Julie Cox, Jenny Tarter and Lori-Anne Clark started the 5K in her honor and with the help of many others raised about $200,000 for BackPack Kids to provide food for students in Danville and Boyle County.

This year’s run has been changed from May 9 to Aug. 29 — about the time school hopefully will be started for next year — because of COVID-19. The original race directors are also “passing the baton” for the event to the BackPack Kids, Inc., board of directors that will continue to use race proceeds for the same purpose.

“Now there is a transition in place so this can continue and there will be a focus on the kids in this community who need food,” Cox said. “It’s been wonderful how the community has stepped up to help our own. The family resource teachers in the trees know the needs we have now and have told us how families have let them know how much they appreciate the food.

“It’s also been so rewarding to see different churches working together. People just do it. Nobody seeks any credit. Indian Hills Christian Church gifted us a space that has been so wonderful and we have not had to worry about that space going away. Churches pack the backpacks weekly and it’s been so rewarding for so many people to have a chance to help.”

While nothing will change with the Aug. 29 event, Jennie Carol Memorial Mother’s Day 5K organizers do worry about Backpack Kids funding for summer months. Revenue for the 5K normally has been available in May to provide food for summer months.

“There  is a little concern about the delay in funding but we will still have people packing bags and getting food to kids,” Cox said.

The group considered a “virtual” race like many other events are having to go ahead and secure race entries and sponsorship money now.

“We just decided this is such a community event and people of all ages take part that if we could postpone and find a new date, that’s what we would do,” Cox said. “We are not going to change anything about the race from the start to the course to the finish. We will still have a kid’s run after the 5K just like always.”

However, race participants certainly could help the potential revenue deficit if they went ahead and entered now just like they normally would when the race was in May. That way Backpack Kids would have the normal funding for summer months rather than waiting for registration fees in July or August.

“If people would register now that would be great and a huge help,” Cox said. “Who knows what could happen in this time of uncertainty? The race might be postponed again or not even held but the demand for food to help kids and families won’t go away.

“So if you could go ahead and enter now or make a donation — or even do both — that would be greatly appreciated. Nothing is changing about the need. And for those of us involved from the start, we’re not going away. We’re still going to be involved, just in a different way.

For more information on the event or to register/make a donation, go to