Covid-19 darkened many things in 2020, but not the glow from the Lighted Christmas Balls. From Thanksgiving Day on, car after car streamed through the neighborhood in awe. Cars stopped next to the food trailer; people got out, deposited non-perishable food, and drove off.
When the trailer filled up, volunteers showed up, boxed the food, and hauled it off to food banks. The filling and boxing up and hauling off kept on happening all through December and into the New Year. In all, 27,426 pounds, 80% more than last year! Amazing.
Last year, the “Running of the Balls 5-k-ish” race through the neighborhood had 4,500 runners and walkers. This year, with outside gatherings of more than 25 persons banned by the Governor, chances of holding the 9th Annual Running of the Balls was nothing short of doomed. That’s when the spark of brilliance hit the run’s founders, Nick and Kristen Loflin: they said “Let’s have an imaginary race to benefit real people.” They dubbed this year’s race “The Greatest No-k(ish) in the History of the World.”
The idea took off like wildfire. Two thousand five hundred participants ended up giving more than all the sponsors combined: Sponsors gave $22,500, and runners gave $23,500. Many folks didn’t even pick up their race shirts, making the Loflins think the runners were only in it for the giving.
“2,500 is about 2,499 more than I thought would attend,” said Nick, “counting myself.” Altogether, this year the food and the dollars turned into 570,218 nutritious meals for hungry folks. It all goes back to our neighbor Marlene’s suggestion, fourteen years ago, to have a food drive. Since then, $572,658.16 in contributions and race proceeds and 78.6 tons of food turned into 4,007,802 meals for those who need it most. Thanks for letting us be a part of it.