Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Running for a Cause: The Food Trust

For my first marathon, I wanted to run for something bigger than myself. I looked at all the major charities, like Team for Training, and the MS Team for the Cure, but the major problem with most of those is I don't feel personally affected by any of them... *knock on wood* but I've been very blessed to have healthy people in my life, and no one very close to me has ever been affected by leukemia & lymphoma, aids, diabetes, cancer, etc... granted, my grandmother did die form cancer, and one of my cousins currently lives with cancer, but overall I don't feel that passionately about it to the point where I want to dedicate my running efforts to raising money for the cause. I wanted to run for a cause I TRULY believe in and TRULY feel very passionately about.

I believe wholeheartedly in good nutrition and exercise. So I did some searching online, and that's when I discovered the Food Trust. The Food Trust is a NFP located in Philadelphia that focuses on easy access to affordable, nutritious food for everyone, everywhere. Now here's a cause I can really stand behind!! I firmly believe in the life-long benefits of healthy eating, especially wholesome, nutritious foods. It was a perfect match! I kicked the idea around for a while, waiting to see how my marathon training was progressing before I committed to anything. In the meantime, I wrote to the Food Trust and asked them for help, suggestions, etc... I told them what I was planning on doing and they were beyond thrilled. They offered to help in any way they could. They even sent me a tee-shirt in the mail, along with a packet of newsletters that I could send to my prospective donors. Encouraged by their enthusiasm and support, I wrote an e-mail to all my friends, family, past co-workers, contacts, and acquaintances asking them to donate to the Food Trust. I think what they are doing is truly incredible, and more cities should model organizations after them! Regardless of how much $$ I raise, my main goal was to get the word out about the Food Trust. My hope is that with increased publicity, more people will be aware of the increasing problem of poor access to healthy nutritious food in low-income areas throughout the United State.

So, without further adieu... here's the letter:

Dear Friends,

In approximately one month, I will be running the Philadelphia Marathon in Philadelphia, PA. This is my very first marathon (26.2 miles!), and along with my commitment to training, I am raising awareness for The Food Trust, a non-profit organization based in Philadelphia that works to ensure everyone has access to affordable, nutritious food.

The Food Trust is working to lower the rates of diet-related illnesses, including obesity and Type 2 diabetes, by improving access to healthy food in low-income communities. In addition to operating 30 weekly farmers markets across Philadelphia, The Food Trust partners with over 100 schools and educates children about healthy eating. Their school-based programs, including the state-funded Kindergarten Initiative, have already reduced the incidence of childhood obesity by 50%. The Food Trust also works with city and state officials to increase the number of grocery stores located in lower-income neighborhoods through the Fresh Food Financing Initiative. (To learn more, visit www.thefoodtrust.org.)

In my opinion, The Food Trust addresses a glaring issue in modern society and espouses an extremely worthwhile cause - one that I care deeply about helping. As a runner and certified fitness professional, I subscribe to the "food as fuel" mentality. I also advocate eating healthy, wholesome, fresh, whole foods brimming with essential nutrients. It pains me to see the lack of access to fresh food in society today - and even worse, a lack of knowledge about the importance of good nutrition.

I wanted to run my first marathon for something larger than myself. That is why I chose to promote The Food Trust through my training efforts. I believe that given the right resources and widespread support, the Food Trust is leading the way in eradicating the nutritional crisis – and all the resulting health problems - in America today. I invite you to join me in supporting them and hope you will consider making a donation on my behalf. You can go directly to the website: http://www.thefoodtrust.org/php/donations/index.php.

Although I've been a runner for years, 26.2 miles is extremely intimidating and it is going to take hard work and commitment to get there. I am blogging my progress: http://community.active.com/blogs/julierunsphilly. Check back often for updates! Thanks for all your love & support.

In good health,


PS – Please spread the word!

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