The race is on to support Immokalee’s children, and time is running out. The annual Lipman 5K Run for Backpacks is May 11, with early bird registration pricing set to end at noon on Friday, May 10. Runners can sign up at bit.ly/Lipman5K. The event, set for 8 a.m. at Immokalee High School on 701 Immokalee Drive, raises money for the Lipman Family Farms Backpack Giveaway on August 3.
Proceeds from last year’s run filled more than 1,500 backpacks with school supplies for Immokalee area students in need. It also covered the cost of 200 bicycles, $3,000 in clothing store gift cards and 100 children’s haircuts. This year, the goal is to provide even more children with the tools of success.
“We all deserve to begin at the same starting line, whether it’s in a 5K or at school,” said Jaime Weisinger, produce director for Lipman Family Farms, America’s largest open-field tomato grower. “This race is about giving children in our community a fair start in life and the chance they need to pursue their dreams.”
Ellerman and Pedro Mateo are examples of what can happen when education is supported. The two teenagers grew up in Immokalee and earned scholarships to prep schools in Boston this year. Both took part in last year’s race, and before the run, Weisinger promised that if they finished in the top five, he would fly them back to Immokalee for this year’s event. Ellerman finished first and Pedro came in third.
“The race makes me feel proud to be from Immokalee,” Pedro said. “Furthermore, the impact of the Lipman 5K allows me to achieve the perspective that any effort to improve the lives of others is worthwhile.”
Lipman Family Farms is giving shirts to every student in the elementary school that registers the most runners as part of the Spirit Shirt Challenge. The event will also include a ceremony to honor the work others are doing to promote education in the community. Golden Apple Award-winning teachers Jill Striz of Village Oaks Middle School and Philip Barton of Immokalee Middle School will each receive a Lipman Golden Tomato — a special award Lipman Family Farms hands out to recognize educators who make a difference.
Those who would like to donate rather than run can do so on the Lipman PayPal page at bit.ly/LipmanDonate. All proceeds go to the backpack giveaway in August.
Visit facebook.com/LipmanFamilyFarms or call 239-657-4421 to learn more about the race and the backpack event.