KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Volunteer Ministry Center's 14th Annual 5K Race and Fun Walk kicked off Wednesday with a luncheon at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in downtown Knoxville.
Team leaders representing 1,000 runners and walkers met to get going on this year's event. It takes place Saturday, September 24, at 9:00 a.m. World's Fair Park Festival Lawn.
Runners are collecting pledges to benefit VMC-provided programs that prevent and end homelessness. The goal is to raise $50,000.
Of the 374 people who have already been helped to find their own apartment and a job, 94 percent maintain their housing situation over the long-term, according to VMC Executive Director Ginny Weatherstone.
She says many people are one utility bill or rent payment away from homelessness.
"I'm talking about the number of people who come to us needing assistance with a KUB bill, trying to air condition to the point where they can breathe in their apartments because of this extraordinary heat. Those bills will be hitting soon, and this race is going to help us meet those needs," Weatherstone said.
I'm this year's honorary chair of the VMC 5K Race and Fun Walk. I'm also in a friendly competition with Star 102.1's Kim Hansard to see who can raise the most pledges.
Kim and I are beginning training to run the race with the help of local trainer Levi Dodd. Follow our progress each Thursday beginning August 11 on 6 News at 5:30.