116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
A 5K for a good cause is coming back with a new name this year, highlighting the element that sets it apart from most charity runs: apple pie made with love and care by parishioners.
Run for Pie, formerly known as Run for the Least, hopes to continue serving as one of the largest annual fundraisers for the Eastern Iowa Haiti Committee, which is made up of member Catholic churches including Mount Vernon’s St. John the Baptist, All Saints in Cedar Rapids and the Heart of Mary Cluster in Urbana, Vinton and Walker. Together, the churches help sustain schools at a sister parish in rural Belle Fontaine, Haiti.
Back in person with a new name after a virtual showing last year, Run for Pie organizers hope to capture a sizable portion of participation in previous years. In a typical year, the fundraiser brings in upward of $9,000 to pay teachers and buy supplies for students in the country with no public education system.
In the 24 villages served by Notre Dame de Lourdes, 105 teachers serve 4,500 students, making a salary of about $360 per year.
“It’s going to be what we’ve always been doing — teaching (Haitian children) to fish instead of sending fish over for them to eat,” said race director Joe Mischka, highlighting the importance of education in the impoverished Caribbean nation hit particularly hard by multiple crises in 2021. “Education allows them to make their own rescue.”
When: Saturday, at 9 a.m. for 5K, 10 a.m. for Kids Fun Run.
Where: Lisbon City Park on South Jackson Street in Lisbon.
Cost: Registration is $20 for the 5K; $10 for the Kids Fun Run.
Details: Run for Pie participants can register online through Friday or in person before the race starts on Saturday. Runners will run on a USA Track & Field certified flat 5K course.
The top three finished in each age category will receive a homemade apple pie. All participants will receive an apple pie pop. Overall winners will receive original Haitian art.
All proceeds benefit education in rural Haiti. For more information, visit runforpie.com.
On Aug. 14, more than 2,200 people were killed in Haiti from a 7.2 magnitude earthquake. The country has been rife with civil unrest throughout most of the last year, and Haiti President Jovenel Moïse was assassinated on July 7. With the instability of the power vacuum has come an increase in violent activity.
With struggles in daily living and gang activity growing more pervasive, keeping children engaged in education can be challenging. With extreme levels of poverty, many families share one school uniform between multiple children, who take turns wearing it through the week, Mischka said.
“All the villages in our parish were, until recently, completely ignored by the government and cities,” he said. “(Education) is very important to them, because they see it as being empowering.”
With a mission to support Haitians educating themselves, churches in Eastern Iowa hope to affect sustainable change. At 22 years old, the Eastern Iowa Haiti Committee has experience where it counts.
“Haitian people are suspicious,” Mischka said. “They’ve suffered at the hands of people trying to do good or people out to take what they can.”
Many supplies are consumable and must be replaced every year. Efforts have been made to shift supply provisions from direct shipment to purchasing within Haiti to support local economic activity.
Run for Pie is one of the largest of several fundraisers supporting the mission every year.
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