Make a run for it: Grass Valley’s Interfaith Food Ministry off and running in inaugural Hunger Run |

Make a run for it: Grass Valley’s Interfaith Food Ministry off and running in inaugural Hunger Run

Men's first-place runner Gerald Vance reaches for a high five as he crosses the finish line in the Interfaith Food Ministries inaugural Hunger Run Saturday at the Nevada County Airport.
Elias Funez/

Interfaith Food Ministry held its first Hunger Run on Saturday at Nevada County Airport. The event was held in an effort to raise awareness for the nonprofit food charity which has helped local families in need for over 31 years.

The event saw 103 runners completing the 5k course, which shut down the airport for a time as participants traversed the runways.

“For our first event as a hunger run, we felt (attendance) was pretty good,” said Interfaith Food Ministry development director Kate LaFerriere.

The event raised about $4,000, according to LaFerriere. She said the funds raised helped the event get off the ground, and hopefully establish itself as an annual fundraiser.

Main sponsors of Saturday’s event included Tri-Counties Bank, Van Son Construction, and Peter’s Drilling and Pump Service.

“We are entering into holiday time, and we are starting to plan for our holiday food distribution,” said LaFerriere. “We still do our normal food distribution, but at Thanksgiving and Christmas we try very hard to give out groceries for full holiday meals for families. That includes a full turkey meal for families of three or more, or a whole chicken for two or less and we can only give out as much as we can fund or afford.

“We thought this would be a good venue (to) raise awareness and also would help supplement our holiday food program.”

LaFerriere said providing food for needy families is only one part of Interfaith Food Ministry’s mission. They strive, she said, to not only feed the hungry but to reduce food insecurity. A major component of this includes promoting a healthy, active lifestyle.

“We thought, wouldn’t this be a good fit to host a run or walk where it would promote a healthy act that would boost your health?” LaFerriere explained.

Nevada County Airport was shut down for about an hour and 45 minutes, but the organization had full emergency contingency — if Cal Fire had to launch, a plan was in place to clear people from the runway so emergency services could perform their duties.

“It was so extraordinary to see a very unique partnership come together to make this inaugural event such a success,” said Interfaith Food Ministry executive director Phil Alonso. “Nevada County Airport, our various sponsors, our hardworking volunteers, and the runners/walkers in the community made the event possible.”

Awards were distributed to those who placed in top spots. For men, first place went to Gerald Vance, second place to Nate Moran, and third place, Robert Anderson.

In the women’s division, first place was claimed by Inca Mimms, second place Grace McDaniel and third, Grace Billingsley.

Jennifer Nobles is a staff writer for The Union. She can be reached at or 530-477-4231.

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