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Marshfield High School

Marshfield High School's Charity Club will host "Color the Marsh" run on September 30. 

COOS BAY — The Marshfield High School Charity Club is gearing up to host its first fundraiser for the 2018-2019 school year with its third annual, “Color the Marsh,” charity run.

The 5K run/walk will be held at the Millicoma Intermediate School’s track and field area Sept. 30, at 260 Second Ave. in Eastside. The route will circle the Millicoma Dike twice and then once around the track, where numerous stations will be placed throughout with volunteers and students throwing non-toxic color powder at runners as they pass.

The event is a part of the club’s yearlong effort to help raise funds for local programs that work in helping to alleviate food insecurity among the community’s youth. The proceeds will go specifically toward the ARK project and Oregon Coast Community Action’s (ORCCA) Bear Snack Pack program, which provides food to children during holiday breaks and over the weekends when school is not in session.

Marshfield High School senior Brooke Pedro, one the club’s head coordinators, initially joined the club her freshmen year as a stagehand for its annual pageant competition. As she learned more about the group and its mission to feed hungry, young students the more she said she knew she had made the right choice.

“In school you see kids who don’t have as much as you do or who can’t afford a lot of things,” Pedro said. “So, it’s really rewarding to be a part of something like this where you can help those kids that you know need it.”

According to its website, ORCCA’s snack pack program has seen a decline over the years in the amount of children it has been able to serve. From its first year, the program served about 750 children to only 435 children in 2016. However, during the last school year the program was able to serve about 100 kids more.

In a 2018 Oregon Center for Public Policy report, there are 2,810 children (about 24 percent of the county’s population) in Coos County who are considered to be food insecure -- meaning they do not have stable access to nutritious, affordable food.

The Charity Club, which was established in the '90s, works to help young adults realize the importance of giving back to their community and learning how to service others, said club advisor Jennifer Bunnel via email.

The new group of students is the 13th group Bunnel has worked with. Throughout the year the group will host a number of charity events such as the “Color the Marsh” run as well as sell calendars, holiday food baskets and tickets to its end-of-the year pageant. The students do earn volunteer hours through their contributions.

The club recently changed its structure and name to make sure it is in compliance with Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972, which means an education program or activity cannot exclude members from joining based on their gender or sex.

As a result, the club allows for both female and male students to be elected by their peers to join. The students selected will then choose a teammate to assist them throughout the year in their fundraising goals. At the end of the school year, the students will compete for a crown in the MHS Charity Program Pageant, where they will tally up how much they’ve raised as well as compete in a variety of categories.

“The pageant is a fun way for the community to see what we’ve been doing all throughout the year and get to meet us,” said Pedro. “We don’t have a formal date yet, but it will be sometime around early April.”

The “Color the Marsh” run is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. Sept. 30. Pedro said runners can pick up pre-registration forms at the Marshfield High School main office or do so on the day of the race at noon.  The cost to register is $20 for adults and $10 for children ages 3 to 12. All the proceeds will go toward the ARK and Bear Snack Pack programs.

“It’s a fun event,” said Pedro. “You will get messy, sprayed with powder and help out a good cause.”

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