PEMBERVILLE - Knowing more local residents need help with groceries, Holden Sondergeld is combining his desire to assist others and love of running for his Eagle Scout project.
Holden, 16, of Gibsonburg is organizing a five-kilometer run and one-mile walk-run on Oct. 25 to benefit the Pemberville-Eastwood Area Community Food Pantry. As part of the entry fee, participants are asked to bring a bag of canned food with at least five items on race day.
The community food pantry had seen more use by July than all of last year. The pantry housed at Bethlehem Evangelical Lutheran Church, where Holden is a member, has helped 48 area families this year.
"I saw the need, that they needed food for people, so I wanted to help them," said the member of Boy Scout Troop 344 of Pemberville, a Gibsonburg High School sophomore who is on the cross country team.
The Pumpkin Run and Gourd Walk/Run is an extension of sorts of an Eagle Scout project by Steven Brandt, who undertook renovations at the food pantry. Holden painted a mural to help that fellow Troop 344 member's successful Eagle Scout project.
There have been other efforts to help out the food pantry, such as Eastwood High School "charging" canned goods for part of a football game's admission, said Holden's mother, Cheryl Sondergeld, a Bethlehem Lutheran Church employee.
"It's not like the shelves are completely empty now; it's just getting a lot of use," she said.
Both races on Oct. 25 will begin at the Pemberville Fire Hall, 104 E. Front St. The Gourd Walk/Run begins at 1:30 p.m., while the Pumpkin Run will begin at 2 p.m.
Registration forms are available at bethlehempemberville.org. The first 250 participants to sign up will receive a t-shirt after donating a bag of canned food.
Pre-registrations must be postmarked by Oct. 19 with $10 checks made out to "Boy Scouts Troop 344" and mailed to: Holden Sondergeld, 601 S. Gibson St., Gibsonburg, OH.
Registrations from noon to 1:15 p.m. on race day are $20.
Competitors will be divided into 14 age groups for both races, and the first-place finisher in each will receive a prize.
Contact Julie M. McKinnon at: