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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Freeze for Food race returns, raises funds for Madison area refugees

The annual Freeze for Food 5K and 10K will return this March in celebration of Peace Corps Week, hosted by the Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of Wisconsin-Madison (RCPV) and volunteer organization Open Doors for Refugees (ODFR). The RCPV absorbs the majority of race expenses and will donate all proceeds from the event to the ODFR for the seventh consecutive year.

The ODFR is a nonprofit, volunteer organization dedicated to helping refugees resettle and welcoming them to Madison. The organization supports refugees by providing housing, helping with courses in English as a second language, assisting with professional development and job searches and more. The funds from the Freeze for Food race will go toward the ODFR’s food security programs and relief efforts for refugees in the local community.

“Madison’s low-wage earners are emerging slowly from the past two COVID winters, but the progress of refugees who lost jobs or who endure recurring illness seems more slow,” Ken Baun, volunteer general manager of ODFR, said in a press release. “In addition, new arrivals from Afghanistan and Ukraine flounder as their status with the U.S. government seems shaky. We truly welcome support from the 2023 Freeze for Food to ODFR.”

In past years, a large part of the race’s profits derived from the support of sponsors and donors — including the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s International Division. Last year’s Freeze for Food race raised $14,500 for the ODFR. Since its founding, the race has raised over $127,000 for various non-profit organizations focused on food security, such as the Colombia Support Network.

This year, the RCPV will host a food drive for Goodman Community Center Fritz Food Pantry prior to the run. All pantry donations will be collected in Vilas Park, where the race is scheduled to start and finish.

The race itself consists of a 5K walk or run along with a 10K run, starting in Vilas Park and looping through the Arboretum and the neighborhoods north of Lake Wingra. Participants range in age and ability, from infants in strollers to dogs to lifelong runners. The 2022 Freeze for Food brought out over 300 runners and walkers, with a similar turnout expected this year according to race organizers.

Freeze for Food stays true to its name, the race’s motto being, “Our race is never canceled due to weather or pandemic!” The event has never been canceled in its 42 year history. Race day has been held in temperatures as low as -9 degrees. 

The 2023 Freeze for Food 5K and 10K will be hosted on March 4. A virtual option is available in addition to the in-person run. Registration for the event is open until race day at 11:30 a.m. 

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