Running a mile in their shoes: Political candidates raising funds to fight childhood hunger
SHEPHERDSTOWN — This Saturday morning at 9 a.m., Morgans Grove Park will be the host of the first one-mile Race to Fight West Virginia Childhood Hunger, featuring West Virginia Second Congressional District candidates Dr. David Hahn (R) and Cathy Kunkel (D).
The race can be watched in-person, as long as social distancing measures are observed, or via live-stream on each candidate’s Facebook page. The winner will receive bragging rights, with the knowledge that all of the money raised from the event will go to feeding children at the Boys & Girls Club of the Eastern Panhandle.
“Food insecurity is very real for our families and many other children in our community. We have seen an exponential increase in our meal program — nearly triple — since the stay-at-home order began on April 16,” said Stacie Rohn, CEO of the Boys & Girls Club of the Eastern Panhandle.
According to Hahn, he had been wanting to work with an Eastern Panhandle organization to help fight childhood hunger when he thought of holding the race, and was recommended to connect with the BGCEP by Starting Point in Berkeley Springs.
“The school systems are providing meals for kids, and the Boys & Girls Club of the Eastern Panhandle is working with them. Along with the school systems’ meals, they’re providing five dinners and snacks,” Hahn said of the club. “With kids at home at this time, there has been an extra demand for food. They need our help!”
While Hahn has run competitively in the past, Kunkel has only run for exercise. However, Hahn said he is a “slow runner,” so Kunkel may still have a good chance of winning the race.
“I am looking forward to this friendly competition to support the incredibly important work of the Boys and Girls Club, and to focus on what unites us, not what divides us,” Kunkel said.
Hahn agreed with Kunkel, mentioning that “friendly rivalry” for a good cause like this is what American politics should look like.
“Despite the fact of I’m a Republican and she’s a Democrat, we actually agree that childhood hunger’s an important thing! We don’t need to fight each other,” Hahn said. “We are Americans, we are neighbors. We’re all in this together and we should be working together in this to try to make this nation possible. It just breaks my heart to see the two parties working against one another and all of the animosity. It’s bad for Americans. And, as we’ve seen with the pandemic, it’s dangerous! It’s got to stop.”
The fundraising goal from the race is $10,000. Supporters of each political candidate can donate money in honor of each politician on the website of the Boys & Girls Club of the Eastern Panhandle, at www.bgcepwv.net/contribute.