ANTIOCH -- As the number of homeless and hungry people served has tripled during the recession, the Don Brown Homeless Shelter has depended more on the community for help.
Last year, help came from the Delta Harvest Run, which provided 80 percent of the program's cash donations.
The annual running and walking event, which begins at 7 a.m. Sunday, includes a half-marathon, 10K, 5K and a Family Fun Run. Delta Association of Realtors Community Service Foundation sponsors the event, which aims to assist East County's food banks and shelters.
Last month, the Don Brown Homeless Shelter served 6,800 people at its drop-in center where hot meals are given out twice a day. According to Administrator Rebecca Sanders, the $500 donation from the Delta Harvest Run helped to provide a lot of essential items during the holidays, including toiletry bags, socks, underwear, turkeys and two communal meals.
"We see a lot of families that are having a hard time," Sanders said. "Funding is not going up and the need is much greater. We depend on the community for those things."
As a nonprofit to the Delta Association of Realtors, the foundation started this run last year with 302 participants. Race director Wendy Shearer said they hope to attract more runners this year with a recent U.S. Track and Field certification.
"We are really involved in food and shelter as Realtors. We see a lot of clients losing homes and having trouble feeding
This year, the Delta Harvest Run has already attracted runners from as far as South Carolina and Half Moon Bay, Shearer noted. The new course will start at Liberty High School in Brentwood, travel through portions of Oakley and along the Marsh Creek Trail.
The event will include a DJ, live music, a magician and a fire truck. As an avid runner, Shearer said that area runners are always looking for local marathons to participate in, and there will be first aid stations and bathrooms along the route.
"We have made so many great modifications from what we learned last year," she said. "We have invested a lot in it."
Among the fundraiser's other recipients last year were the Brentwood Regional Community Chest, Pittsburg Community Emergency Service and Oakley's St. Anthony Catholic Church. As the director of St. Anthony's emergency food pantry program, Joann Mass said that last year's donation bought a lot of groceries for the adults and families they serve.
"They are a nice group to work with because they are so community-centered," Mass said. "It has been terrible the past few years to see people who used to donate here on the other side of it. It is hard for them, but they have children who are hungry."
What: Delta Harvest Run
When: 7 a.m. Sept. 16
Where: Liberty High School football stadium, 850 Second St., Brentwood
Registration: www.deltaharvestrun.com or register from noon to 5 p.m. Sept. 14 or from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sept. 15 at REI in the Streets of Brentwood, or from 5-8 p.m. Sept. 15 at Diamond Hills Sports Club and Spa in Oakley.
COST: $10 students and seniors; $12 general; families of active military $5 each