It’s the biggest annual fundraiser for the Elk Grove Food Bank Services.

The 13th annual Run 4 Hunger 5K/10K Run,Walk and Jog kicked off in a cool morning hour on June 24 at Elk Grove Regional Park, much to the liking of its approximately 1,100 participants.

After the children ran up and down the main road of the park at 8:30 a.m. following, “The Chicken,” the crowd of runners and walkers were thanked by Food Bank staff and local supporters such as Cosumnes CSD Board President Rod Brewer and U.S. Rep. Ami Bera (D-Elk Grove).

At 9 a.m., event announcer Mark Hedlund started the runners on a course that wound south through the park out onto East Stockton Boulevard, north to Valley Oak Lane, east to Elk Grove-Florin Road and back into the park. Runners in the 10-kilometer race made that loop twice.

Elk Grove Food Bank executive vice chairman of the board of directors, Jerry Braxmeyer, said every year area families, businesses, organizations and runners come together for this annual local tradition to raise awareness and critical funds for local hunger relief.

“It’s a collective team that comes together for this event,” he said. “This is our major fundraiser of the year and most of the money we raise throughout the year comes from this run.”

Braxmeyer said they expected to raise about $100,000 from the run, which goes to provide food and clothing for four- to five thousand individuals who rely on help from the Food Bank on a monthly basis.

“The good thing about the Elk Grove Food Bank is every dollar that we raise, 94 cents goes back into this community,” he said. “So, we keep our administrative costs low.”

The chairman said in recent years the Food Bank has served an increasing number of senior citizens and children.

“We have mobile programs and lunch programs during the summer,” Braxmeyer explained. “Without (the Run 4 Hunger), we cannot do that. There are times we have to go out and buy food in order to distribute. The money raised is used so we can give back into the community.”

The run has also become an annual event for many local runners.

“I see a lot of the same faces every year,” Braxmeyer said. “They are out here to run. It’s a part of their schedule every year. We have some serious runners. We have some people who just walk. Some people are out here just to donate the money because it is such a great cause.”

In the past 10 years, the Food Bank has seen an increase from two thousand to almost five thousand people a month needing assistance, he added.

The Elk Grove Food Bank Services is at 9820 Dino Drive.

“We don’t decline anybody,” Braxmeyer said. “We’re here to feed the hungry, as long as you can prove you have a need.”