By Donald Ross
Scioto County Candor
The 6th Annual St. Patrick’s Day Shamrock Shuffle is a race among races in the local community, and is making its way to downtown Portsmouth yet again.
This race is a way to support local children by ensuring they get the meals they need.
Community Action Organization (CAO) Executive Director Steve Sturgill stated, “The goal behind the race is to raise money for the backpack program here at Community Action.”
These programs have been around for a while, even though this is only the 6th annual race, Sturgill further explained. The backpack program benefits and supports the schools who can’t provide enough free meals to students who may not get any food at home. The program is also provided to the head start students.
As part of other St. Patrick’s Day festivities, the race will take place this Saturday at the Welcome Center, located at 342-2 St. in Portsmouth. Entry fees are $30 for each individual. The six age divisions will be the following; 14 & younger, 15-19, 20-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59 and 60 & older.
The race will begin at 7 a.m. with the registration for the 5K. At 7:55 a.m., there will be final instructions made at the starting line. All events will begin at 8 a.m., with the award ceremony taking place at 9 a.m.
The CAO has funding for several different food programs, such as the Summer Food Service Program.
“We average about 25 feeding sites throughout the County over a ten week time frame in the Summer,” Sturgill commented.
The CAo also has a Summer Backpack Program and a Mobile Farmers Market Program, both with the cooperation of the Ohio Food Bank. The main goal of all of their food programs is to feed children and those who need it.
The CAO founded the Shamrock Shuffle, and they raise their money by gaining sponsors for the race, including gold sponsor Suncoke of Haverhill. The CAO does most of its advertising on tristateracer.com. Sturgill estimated 150-200 racers will participate in this year’s race.
“ Some people run, a lot of people walk, most of the people there are just to support the cause, but we do have some very serious people come out to race it,” Sturgill added. “We are all about feeding kids in this community, and this just provides us the opportunity to meet that goal.”