Run for Food International - Race to End World Hunger Run for Food International Donate to save lives
I Run For Food on Facebook I Run For Food on Twitter I Run For Food on In

When Run For Food International was established in early 2011, the mission was clear:  to find innovative and sustainable solutions that would end world hunger.   This mission has never changed.  However, the name of the organization did not seem to identify exactly what we were all about.  Many people thought we were an organization that just held races.  They only associated running with what we do.

One of our objectives was to recruit runners  (iRunForFood.org) to help build awareness of the worldwide hunger crisis through social media.  The runners would also be able to help generate funding for meals by logging the miles they were already running on the website and encouraging their friends and colleagues to sponsor them for every mile they ran.  This objective is still an important aspect of Run For Food International.  Still the name for the organization has been a little confusing as it relates to the mission.

However, as I have travelled throughout Nicaragua, the name Run For Food International, has taken on a more significant meaning.   When the volunteers in feeding centers start building the fire to prepare the meals, the children come running.  They are running with colorful bowls in their hands.  They are running with smiles on their faces.  They are running knowing that in a few moments they will be fed.  These children are literally running for food that could be the only sustenance they receive that entire day.

Running for food is important for the provider of the food who gives his time and/or resources to insure that meals are available.  It is equally important to the recipients in developing countries. This is truly “a race to end world hunger.” We are all in it together whether we are runners or not.

Continue reading
Comments to this post

by Chuck Lovelace - VA100

While working with Outreach Africa, I was training to run the Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon in Virginia Beach, VA. During one of my long runs, I passed an intersection where a man was holding a sign that read, “I will work for food.”  As I continued to run I kept thinking about the sign, and then I thought about the work I was doing to feed the hungry. That’s when it hit me, what if I run for food? My nonprofit fund-raising background began to kick in and filled my head with ideas during the rest of my workout. My thought was to set a personal goal to run races during the year and to solicit a contribution for every mile I ran. Since a meal only costs a quarter, I thought a meal for every mile could be a good slogan. I didn’t act on any of the ideas, but I continued to think about them. I made a lot of notes and filed them away and placed them on the back burner.

In November of 2010, when my consulting role with Outreach had ended, I was trying to gear up a marketing strategy for my consulting business. Over the past few months, I had focused most of my time and energy on the hunger project and as a result I didn’t have much work in the pipeline. The problem was, I couldn’t stop thinking about the children that were dying because they didn’t have food to eat. The work so many good organizations were doing to address the hunger crisis wasn’t enough to prevent the deaths that were occurring every 3.6 seconds. Then it dawned on me, I had
found my passion and it wouldn’t let me go. It didn’t matter what else I tried to do, my mind kept coming back to the desperate need for me to do something to save lives. I began to write a business plan that would target three to five countries that needed significant help. I would incorporate some of the funding ideas I had filed on the back burner a few months earlier and take advantage of
the knowledge I had gained while working with Outreach Africa. I contacted trusted friends with whom I could share my thoughts and ideas. I sought their feedback and additional ideas on what I was about to undertake.

John T. Hewitt, President and CEO of Liberty Tax Service, has always had a passion to end hunger around the world.  He has also been a friend and mentor for close to 20 years. He graciously agreed to work with me on this project.  As a result of our efforts, the new organization began to take shape and Run For Food International was incorporated in December of 2010.   The
official launch date was January 20, 2011 when the iRunForFood.org  initiative was introduced. During the year the iBikeForFood.org and RunForFoodInternational.org websites were released.  RFFI targeted Nicaragua as the first country we wanted to work with.   Extensive work has been done to build a solid foundation for the organization.  The Internal Revenue Service issued our 501(c) (3) tax determination in May. We are working through a short list of countries we will focus our efforts on and will announce them in the months ahead.

As of this writing RFFI has over 420 runners who have joined our team to fight hunger around the world. Our vision is to have 10,000 runners. By the way, we are not stopping with runners and bikers.   iWalk, iPlay, iGolf, iRead, iHoop, iSwim and iSing are all on the drawing board. We also won’t stop with three to five countries.  We will work until our mission has been achieved and deaths from hunger and hunger-related illness have been eliminated.   My Inspiration part 4 has not been written yet. You can help me write it by finding a way to get involved in this important fight. You don’t have to be an athlete, or even athletic to be a part of our team. You just need to have a desire to do something, anything, to make a difference. If you don’t know what that is, contact us and we’ll figure it out together.

Continue reading

by Chuck Lovelace - VA100

Union, Iowa is a farming community with a population of 350 people, depending on what time of year it is. From the Des Moines airport, you have to drive about an hour and a half northeast to reach Union. You travel along two-lane roads passing miles and miles of cornfields. There is even a point where you are able to see hundreds of wind turbines that I’m told provide energy for places as far away as Florida. Nestled in the heart of Union on the main street is Outreach Africa. Outreach resides in an unassuming building with an attached warehouse that is filled with the raw materials that are used to produce nourishing meals for starving people around the world. When the earthquake struck Haiti, Outreach stepped up its efforts and was involved in the distribution of hundreds of thousands of meals to that devastated country. In 2010 Outreach either directly packaged or distributed the raw materials for other organizations to package nearly 100 million meals. These meals were shipped all over the world, not only for relief purposes, but also for life-sustaining nourishment.
I was invited to work with Outreach to explore ways to expand their reach. My role as a consultant was to assist with the development of a strategic plan that would help Outreach grow to the next level. The organization has a relatively small but hard working staff to accomplish everything they do. In addition to all the meal packaging that goes on, the organization is developing a water filtration system that will have the ability to provide potable water to entire villages. Medical missions, feeding centers and improving education are all a part of the work flow of Outreach Africa.
The heart and soul of Outreach Africa is Floyd and Kathy Hammer. During a medical mission to Tanzania several years ago, they witnessed children dying from starvation while in their mother’s arms. At that time, Floyd and Kathy made a commitment to do everything within their power to eliminate these deaths. It wasn’t long after their return home that Outreach Africa was born. Floyd and Kathy are synonymous with Outreach. They seem to have endless energy and drive and they are dedicated to the mission of ending hunger around the world.
During my trips to Union to work with Outreach, I was privileged to be a guest in the Hammer home. I saw their passion and commitment for eradicating world hunger. I worked side by side with them on a daily basis and was able to participate in a number of large meal-packaging events. I attended the World Food Prize where I was introduced to several of their friends and colleagues who shared their passion for eliminating hunger. What I didn’t know was how contagious this passion was. Spending time with this remarkable couple had rubbed off on me. What started out as an assignment was turning out to be the beginning of a journey. I wasn’t sure where the journey might take me, but I knew I needed to find out.

Continue reading

by Chuck Lovelace - VA100

Run For Food International was officially launched on January 20, 2011. As one of the founders of this new organization, I wanted to use the first couple of blogs to let you know what inspired this effort. This journey unknowingly began in October of 2008 when I became a victim of the economic downturn. I had spent the previous ten years of my career working as an executive for three different franchise organizations. While working at these companies, I was responsible for development, operations, training and marketing. Prior to my leap into the for-profit arena, I worked as a nonprofit executive for twenty years.
After being downsized, I spent the next several months sending out resumes and cover letters. I applied to a number of online jobs and filled out what seemed like hundreds of profile forms. While prospective employers couldn’t ask your age, they had no problem asking you what year you graduated from high school. So, I was not only confronted with the terrible economy, but I was also a little closer to retirement than employers were comfortable with. Needless to say, this was a challenging combination when you are looking for a job. Most companies were looking for specific skill sets not the smorgasbord of experiences I had to offer.
Armed with a positive attitude and the support of my family, I did what many unemployed executives do: I became a consultant. Establishing a good consulting business takes a lot of hard work and you have to get some breaks along the way. During the summer of 2010, a good friend and mentor introduced me to a prospective client that would be the catalyst for a life-changing journey.
In preparation and anticipation of a consulting project with this prospect, I began to investigate and learn more about the global hunger crisis and the staggering numbers of people it affects. Over the years I remember being told by my parents to “clean my plate because there were children starving all over the world.” As I got older, I saw the television commercials with pictures of starving children and a plea for money from Sally Struthers. While I felt saddened by the thought of people dying from starvation, I was not moved to do anything about it. When the commercial was over, I quickly forgot about the graphic pictures and I didn’t give the message much further thought.
My research for this potential consulting job led me to visit a local chapter of Stop Hunger Now. I was familiar with Stop Hunger Now (SHN) because the chairman of the company I worked for in the late 90’s was one of the founders. Back then my response to SHN was similar to that of the Sally Struthers commercials. I listened to the message of people dying from hunger and hunger-related illnesses, but I didn’t hear it and it certainly didn’t impact me.
During the summer of 2010 I met Clark, an employee of Stop Hunger Now. After spending time with him and participating in a meal-packaging event, I began to look at the hunger crisis in a different light. Clark told me about an organization in Iowa that was also packaging meals. They were seeing tremendous results and making a huge impact in Tanzania. I have to be honest. I had no idea where Tanzania was and had to consult my world atlas. These experiences made me begin to look beyond myself and my own surroundings and start to see that this global hunger crisis was real. I also began to feel like I had been blessed with some talents and skills that would be useful in the fight to eradicate hunger around the world. The next couple of months were eye-opening and would set in motion the next phase of my life.

Continue reading
Comments to this post

This blog is intended to be a community building forum for our team members, our supporters and the visitors to our website.  Our blog posts will cover a range of topics that are relevant to fulfilling our mission.  We will also share information about upcoming event and activities.  Please feel free to make a post or a comment on a post.  All posts and comments must be sent to blog@runforfoodintl.org in order to maintain the integrity of the blog.  Tell your friends about us and keep coming back for updates and interesting stories.   Enjoy!

Continue reading

Partners

Liberty Tax Service
Eagle Business Group
Town Center Fitness
Ameriprise Financial
Your Logo Here