It’s time to get out those running shoes again, as the 15th annual Run 4 Hunger is coming  to Elk Grove Regional Park on Saturday, June 22.

This 5K and 10K run-walk and kids’ ¼-mile and ½-mile fun runs event offers opportunities to get out and get some exercise while supporting a local cause.

Proceeds from the event will benefit Elk Grove Food Bank Services (EGFBS), a nonprofit dedicated to “providing essential resources to overcome the many faces of hunger and human need.” This organization helps an estimated 5,700 people in Elk Grove per month.

Race day registration will begin at 7 a.m., followed by the kids’ runs at 8:05 a.m. and the 5K and 10K events at 8:30 a.m.

Other attractions will be a pancake breakfast provided by the Pride of Laguna Creek Lions for all registrants, vendor booths, live music and cheer stations.

Marie Jachino, executive director of EGFBS, mentioned the importance of this event to the food bank.

“It’s one of our major fundraisers,” she said. “All the proceeds from this goes back to our programs and services. So, it’s really critical for us. It’s really crucial. This is our main fundraiser that benefits all of our programs and services.”

Jachino added that the need for the services provided by EGFBS continues to grow as the community grows.

“We’re really having a hard time right now,” she said. “We’re going into our reserve funding to meet the needs of the community, just trying to keep up with trying to serve with food, and not having our own facility.

“It’s kind of a difficult time for us. It’s really lean right now.”

As has been the case in previous years, the food bank hopes to meet its goal of raising $100,000 through Run 4 Hunger.

The event has yet to meet that goal. Last year’s net total was about $77,000.

Jachino referred to the sponsors of this event as “tremendous.”

“We’ve had more sponsors this year than ever before,” she said.  “We’ve had some new ones, (and) we’ve had some very loyal sponsors over the years who continue to support the event.”

Jachino referred to Run 4 Hunger as a very community-focused, family-oriented event.

“It’s pretty exciting to see everybody gathered together and support the food bank, and to just be out there as a community,” she said.

Eileen Eustaquio, a member of the Run 4 Hunger committee, said that one of the unique aspects of the children’s fun runs will be the presence of a runner in a big, yellow chicken costume.

“If the kids beat the yellow chicken, the first and second place winners, they get a special prize,” she said. “That should be really exciting.”

It would not be easy to beat the chicken in a race, Eustaquio added.

“He’s pretty good,” she said. “I think he’s undefeated so far, so the kids have a challenge up against them. (But) the kids will still get a medal no matter what happens.”

Eustaquio invited the community to join in the Run 4 Hunger.

“(The event) will be good just to promote the Food Bank and remember the need that we have in the Elk Grove community,” she said.

The registration fee for the 5K and 10K events is currently $37. That fee will be increased to $42 on June 16.  The cost for students, 17 and younger, is $25.

Kids can join the fun runs for $20 each.

There is also an opportunity to become a virtual runner – those wanting to contribute funds, but not run or walk. The virtual runner donation cost is $37.

Participants will receive a T-shirt and a “runner’s swag bag,” with various items inside.

First through third place male and female winners in the 5K and 10K events will receive special awards.

Parking will be available at the park, off Elk Grove-Florin Road, and at the nearby Elk Grove High School.

For additional information, visit the website, www.EGrun4Hunger.com.