By MANDY MARKSTEINER
LA Cares runs the food bank in Los Alamos. They feed 65-75 families a month. Families receive a box of staples like rice, noodles, and beans.They can “shop” for specialty items. LA Cares also provides rent and utility payment assistance for people who have fallen behind and are in danger of having their utilities shut off or losing their housing.
“Everyone assumes that all the people in this town are wealthy, but last year we helped more than 100 families with utilities and rent,” said Rosmarie Frederickson, vice president of LA Cares.
Often, when someone is about to move into a new apartment, they may be able to afford the rent, but may need deposit assistance. LA Cares can help them.
“When I first moved to Los Alamos, I didn’t think there was a need for a food bank, but when I started working at the schools, I realized that there is a need,” June Gladney, treasurer of LA Cares said. “Sometimes even a little help can make a huge difference. I had someone ask for $75 towards rent and when I said we could pay it, she literally burst into tears.”
“Everyone goes through hard times like that, and we have to remember that, and help,” Rosmarie Frederickson said.
LA Cares provides supplemental food assistance and financial aid, typically for rent or utility payment assistance to residents of Los Alamos County. Help LA Cares fulfill its mission by participating in the Ruby K’s Ninth Annual Yum Run, LA Cares top fundraiser of the year. In its most successful year, the event raised $6,000. Last year it raised $4,000.
The event is set for Saturday, Oct. 26. The races begin and end at Ruby K’s Bagel Café, located at 1789 Central Ave. in downtown Los Alamos. Runners can choose between the 5K and 10K, which start at 8 a.m. or the 1K run/walk, which begins around 9:30 a.m., following the 5K and 10K Award Ceremony.
The 5K and 10K races are age-graded by US Track and Field standards, ages 8-100. The registration fee is $30 per person or $90 per family for the 5K and 10K. The fee is $15 per person or $35 per family for the 1K run/walk. All the proceeds go to LA Cares.
“It’s a fun local run for a good cause,” said Laura McClellan, a volunteer who organizes the 10K. “It’s the only run in the state that has age-adjusted times. An age-adjusted time evens the playing field, so that an 89 year old can compete with a 12 year old.”
Runners can pick up registration forms at Ruby K’s, or download at www.rubykbagel.com. Last minute registrations will be accepted the morning of the run, however, t-shirts are only guaranteed for the first 150 registrants.
By registering early, runners can help race coordinators know how many people to expect and have a better chance of getting a t-shirt.
A board of seven volunteers oversees LA Cares. LA Cares works closely with Self Help, another local non-profit, and the Los Alamos County 311 Customer Care Center staff to identify people who need assistance.
“We try to make it easy for people to ask for help,” Gladney said. “For example, people get sick, but have no sick leave. They have to stop going to work, and so the paycheck stops. In this economy, it’s easy to get in a hole.”
Community members can help LA Cares in the following ways:
- Participate in the Yum Run. Businesses can sponsor the race with a financial donation or door prizes and gift certificates. Sponsors can make it possible for the race to happen at no expense to LA Cares.
- Send a tax-deductible gift to LA Cares, PO Box 248, Los Alamos, NM 87544, or call 661-8015 and leave a message on the answering machine.
- Donate non-perishable food on the day of the race, or bring it to the Aquatic Center.
- Donate fresh vegetables by bringing them to Bethlehem Lutheran Church in the afternoon on the second Thursday of the month.
- Designate United Way donations to go to LA Cares.
- Designate hours through the LANL volunteer match program.
- Churches, businesses and other organizations are encouraged to organize food drives to support LA Cares.
“Ruby Alexander is really important to this run,” Gladney said. “She and Aaron Goldman, a local runner who passed away a few years ago, started it nine years ago. The Yum Run is a combination of Aaron’s two loves, running and bagels. They met while taking a bagel class together at Cookin’ in Style. Ruby is the biggest sponsor. Without her and the support of the Rotary Club of Los Alamos, we would not be in our ninth year.”