Running a Store and Running for Hope

What do a 5K event and a natural food store have in common? They both benefit the community because of the cooperative difference. The annual Run for Hope 5K exemplifies how a cooperative finds balance between business and giving.

By: Charli Mills, Editor, Living Naturally (Valley Natural Foods’ print publication). Featured in the Spring 2016 Living Naturally edition. Click here to view the entire issue.

Photo by: Brittany Faith McGaughey Thomson

Run for Hope is a 5K walk, run or stroll event intended to bring families together in a healthy activity. Proceeds benefit the Foundation for Early Childhood Family Services (ECFS) and its outreach for young families in the Apple Valley, Rosemount and Eagan area. Last year, Run for Hope 5K raised close to $17,000 for ECFS.

With the money raised last year, ECFS focused on five key programs or developments.

NATURE-SCAPING. Imagination is healthy to a developing mind. ECFS provides safe places for a child to play, including a new playground at Dakota Valley Learning Center. Extra funds allow the foundation to include nature-scaping: logs, log cabin, stumps and a wooden stage.

LITERACY KITS. Parents can bring home a plastic bin filled with tools to encourage literacy, such as whiteboard, markers, scissors and books.

PLAYGROUND EQUIPMENT. Just as Run for Hope provides a way for families to get active outside, so does ECFS with playgrounds. Funds raised help provide needed equipment.

CLASSROOM LIBRARIES. ECFS provides books to match different areas of study, including math, literacy and science. These books are available in each of the Early Childhood facilities in the community.

LEARNING ABOUT NUTRITION THROUGH ACTIVITIES. Like Valley Natural Foods, this program teaches the importance of adding more fruits and vegetables to meals and snacks.

When a cooperative business runs a healthy bottom line, it can balance the needs of the community by promoting the health of a non-profit like Foundation for ECFS.

Keep up to date on the race activities at

© 2016 Valley Community Food Co-op, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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