Runners, joggers, and walkers can’t gather at Elk Grove Regional Park for the 16th annual Run 4 Hunger benefit on June 27, due to the COVID-19 situation.

However, supporters can still help the Elk Grove Food Bank Services and their work to support a growing number of community members during the recession. Organizers will have a “virtual run” that will last from June 27 through July 31.

Runners will be challenged to create and run their own 5K or 10K course at a park or even on their treadmills, and then submit their best time results to the organizers. They can later pick up a commemorative T-shirt and a finisher’s medal at Fleet Feet’s Elk Grove shop on Aug. 15.

The entry fee for the Run 4 Hunger is $40 and proceeds will benefit the food bank.  

Valerie Erwin, the food bank’s community outreach manager, said that her nonprofit registered more than 4,000 new clients since mid-March when the state and Sacramento County ordered many businesses to close in order to slow down the spread of COVID-19.

“This fundraiser is just really, really crucial,” she said about the Run 4 Hunger. “We just couldn’t afford to cancel that fundraiser that we really depend on for community support.”

Erwin said that proceeds from help her nonprofit’s staff purchase groceries to support the growing needs from their clients.

As for the virtual run, she said that the race is not competitive.

“It’s basically an honor system in the big picture,” Erwin said. “It’s a really nice way to have a fundraiser and in return, (runners) get a really cool shirt.”

For registration and more information about the Run 4 Hunger, visit www.EgRun4Hunger.com. Supporters who want to volunteer at the food bank’s Dino Drive facility can contact Darcie Owen at volunteer@egfbs.org or (916) 685-8453.