Photo By: COURTESY OF ELLEN CLARK
Ellen Clark of Los Altos showcases the prizes and merchandise connected with this year’s Run for Zimbabwe fair.
The Sustainable Living Foundation of Los Altos, a non-profit organization that assists the Makumbi Children’s Home in Zimbabwe, has scheduled its 13th annual Run for Zimbabwe Orphans and Fair 1 p.m. April 1 at St. Joseph School, 1120 Miramonte Ave., Mountain View.
The Jesuits of Zimbabwe established the orphanage in 1936. The current director, Heribert Mueller, S.J., said the challenges the home faces concern the mental healing of the children and ongoing financial difficulties.
Races include a 220-yard run for preschoolers, a half-mile run for kindergartners and 1-mile runs for first-graders through adults. An entry fee of $5 is requested but can be waived for low-income runners. The top three finishers in each race will receive championship cups, the top team will receive certificates and all participants will receive finisher ribbons.
Race day will include the African Cultural Fair featuring the music of the Chinyakare Ensemble; African food such as Angela Gora’s Sadza, the traditional cornmeal dish of Zimbabwe; and booths on the geography and animal sounds of Africa.
Lion T-shirts will be available for purchase on a first-come, first-served basis.
Preschool to high-school artists are encouraged to submit art for the Children’s African Art Exhibit on display at the fair. The top artists will receive the Shumba Lion Award. Entries must have an African theme. All contributing artists will receive ribbons.
Batsiranai crafts made by Zimbabwean mothers with disabled children, including handmade dolls, embroidered goods and jewelry, will be available for sale during the fair.
The annual shoe drive has become a big component of the event. The donated gently used rubber-soled shoes are distributed to African children who have no shoes.
“The beauty of the shoe drive is that almost every kid has an outgrown pair of shoes in his or her closet to donate to others,” said Nick MacFalls, leader of the shoe drive.
Director Ellen Clark said the goals of the fair are to inspire American children to stay fit and to raise funds for the Makumbi Children’s Home in Africa, which currently houses 87 orphans. She said last year’s run raised $35,000 – and they hope to match it this year.
Clark is team statistician for the boys cross-country team at St. Francis High School, former P.E. teacher at St. Joseph School, founder of the Run for Zimbabwe Orphans and Fair and president of the Sustainable Living Foundation of Los Altos.
“A hallmark of our foundation is two-way philanthropy,” she said. “We give to Zimbabwe, but we receive from Zimbabwe also – its culture, music and art.”