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Spring is [maybe/hopefully] here to stay. Historically, that meant it was time for another season of Girls on the Run. This year, for the first time in many years, there is not a chapter of Girls on the Run Northwest Michigan. As sad as this is, two very cool things have are now happening to help offset that loss:

First, Munson Healthcare and the Traverse City Track Club have partnered to present the inaugural Kids’ Marathon as part of the Bayshore Marathon. With this, kids in grades kindergarten – fifth grade receive a running log that consists of 25 one-mile markers. Kids are to run or walk 25 miles between April 1st and May 25th. On May 25th, kids will run 1.2 miles and finish at the Bayshore finish line to complete their marathon. This is pretty dang cool. You can get so much more information, sign your kids up, and print off the running log on the Bayshore Marathon’s website.

You may know that historically Run Leelanau has donated 10% of its proceeds to the Northwest Michigan chapter of Girls on the Run. Now that it no longer exists, I needed to find someone else that I wanted to support. My husband works in the Leelanau County public school system and he has brought to my attention the issue of lunch. Some kids come to school with no lunch and no money. Some kids are so past due on their lunch accounts that they have to receive a different lunch from the other kids. Meaning, it is pretty obvious who can pay for their lunch everyday and who has to accept their free lunch. Being a kid is hard and it is hard enough without having to worry about eating everyday. I can’t bare to think of the embarrassment some kids may feel when it is evident they are receiving a free lunch because their parents cannot afford daily meals.

This got me thinking, what can I do about this? A couple times per year, my husband goes into the front office of the school and donates money to pay off student lunch tabs and pay ahead on lunch tabs for kids who need it. He doesn’t play favorites; he just asks administration to put it towards the tabs that need it. Now this, this is something I want to be a part of. So now, in lieu of giving 10% of Run Leelanau proceeds to Girls on the Run, 10% of proceeds will be going to local Leelanau schools to help for school lunches for kids who need it. Enter Leelanau Lunches. We all know kids perform better academically if they are full of nutritious food. Hungry kids cannot focus as well, are irritable, and struggle emotionally. If there is one thing we can do in this community, we can make sure our youth get a good lunch regardless of their ability to pay.

This is all new and I hope to be able encourage more people to join me on this endeavor. In the meantime, swing over to our merchandise tab and scoop of some fresh Run Leelanau gear. You’ll look great in it and you will be helping local kids eat a quality lunch everyday. Thank you, all – I truly appreciate your support.

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