Race to Celebrate The Carying Place

The 2017 Race for Home attracted roughly 450 participants. Organizers hope to register at least that many people for the virtual race lasting Sept. 4-13.

The Carying Place is inviting the community to help celebrate its 25th anniversary — bright and early Monday morning.

The Cary-based nonprofit is expanding its annual Labor Day Race for Home fundraiser into a family-friendly event at Koka Booth Amphitheatre. In addition to the 10K, 5K and Fun Mile races, there will also be fitness games, dance demonstrations, face-painting and plenty of food.

Well-mannered dogs on leashes are also invited to join the fun and cheer on the runners.

“We want to make sure it’s our biggest and best one yet, because it is our 25th anniversary,” said Leslie Covington, executive director of The Carying Place.

“We wanted it to be more of a community-wide event.”

Covington says they have signed on about 25 vendors, more than in previous years. Fit & Able Productions is co-hosting the event, and food sponsors include Bond Brothers Beer Company, Tenco Coffee, FRESH. Local Ice Cream, Trader Joe’s and New York Bagel and Deli.

Organizers also hope to register 600 runners by race time – 8 a.m. Monday, Sept. 3.

Registration fees are $45 for the 10K, $40 for the 5K and $15 for the Fun Mile. Kids in strollers are free, but a $10 donation is requested. Register online at labordayraceforhome.org until 9 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 2, or register onsite from 7 to 7:45 a.m.

All proceeds from the annual race will support the families served by the nonprofit.

The Carying Place provides transitional housing and a 16-week training program in budgeting, goal-setting, time management and self-sufficiency.

“Our biggest goal is to stop the cycle of homelessness,” said Covington.

The Carying Place has worked with more than 400 families to achieve financial independence. Eight families are currently living in apartments or townhomes owned or leased by the nonprofit. It receives approximately 120 requests for help a month, and there are nearly 150 families awaiting housing assistance, according to the website. Last year, Carying Place staff also fielded roughly 1,900 referrals – callers seeking help who were sent to other agencies or nonprofits.

Looking ahead to the next 25 years, Covington expects affordable housing to get even farther out of reach for many in the area. And in order to serve those at risk of homelessness, teaching more people how to be financially self-sufficient is key.

“With this area being in high demand and people moving in, those middle- to lower-class folks will see the gap getting larger,” she said.

Covington says she wants the nonprofit to have “a ripple effect,” helping more than just the few families that go through its program every year.

“How do we partner with other agencies and businesses in the area to take the financial literacy that we teach and give it to them, so they can teach it?” she asked. “We want to be able to say, ‘Here, this is what we do. It has worked well for these 25 years. You take it and make it successful in your area.’”

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