Though the earthquake hit Haiti three years ago, Pastor Noah Filipiak recognizes that aid and support is still needed for the impoverished island. Therefore, Filipiak is hosting his third-annual Lansing For Haiti 5k on Saturday, Jan. 12, a fundraiser created to help relief efforts in Haiti.
Filipiak, who is the founder of Lansing Crossroads Church, 105 W. Allegan St., in Lansing, said that there is a specific reason why the race is held in the middle of January.
“In America, when a tragedy like this hits, there is a lot of momentum initially, but then we kind of lose interest,” he said. “We thought that doing it on the anniversary of the earthquake would keep it in the public’s eye every year. This year, we get to do it on the exact day.”
Participants pay $35, and the race, which begins at 2 p.m., starts at Great Lakes Christian College, 6211 W. Willow Highway, in Waverly, and goes through Sharp Park in Delta Township.
“They have a paved running path that goes through the woods and round a pond,” Filipiak said.” It’s a very nice course that we have.”
Last year, over 150 people participated in the race. This year, Filipiak expects to see around 300 people.
“I think a lot of people do come out because they know it’s a good cause,” he said. “We all have a desire to be in something that we know is bigger than ourselves and make a difference. It’s pretty neat to run with 300 other people and know that you’re helping save people’s lives.”
General management freshman Nate Jefferson, who will also participate for the first time Saturday, believes it’s important to support causes.
“You build relationships and it helps you meet people where they are,” he said. “That way you’ll be able to help people in different situations.”
The event raised $6,000 last year. This year, that figure should rise to around $10,000. Filipiak said he doesn’t want to stop there.
“One-hundred percent of the money that we raise goes to Haiti, so I have no problem going to businesses and asking for sponsorship money because I’m not doing it to pad my pockets,” he said. “I’m doing it literally to save lives, and that’s great motivation.”
Nursing senior Jasmin Koenke will participate in the event for the first time. A regular runner, she sees the event as an opportunity do exercise and support a cause.
“It’s cool that the proceeds are going toward Lansing for Haiti,” Koenke said. “It’ll be really nice and fun to see other people supporting the event.”
Filipiak sees great potential for the race in the future.
“The sky is the limit because there’s a lot of good people that are looking to support a good cause,” he said. “I’d like to see it grow every year and see it be a great event in the Greater Lansing community.”