Reindeer Run for Christmas cheer

Journal Pioneer staff
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Athena Consolidated school organizes second annual Christmas help project

SUMMERSIDE – The Athena Consolidated school community will once again support Christmas cheer through proceeds from its 5k Reindeer Run.

“We wanted to reach out for families at Christmas, and this is an awesome way to do it,” explained organizing committee member Rachel Cameron.

Several staff members, who are runners, conceived the idea last year during one of their sessions. The first effort ended up drawing about 100 participants and contributed $2,800 to the project which helps maintain the Christmas experience for families in need.

“We adopt families through contacts with community organizations,” Cameron explained the process.

The Reindeer Run was able to help nine families last year, providing necessities ranging from grocery gift cards to complete Christmas provisions including presents, clothing and food to nourish throughout the holiday season.

The support the Reindeer Run is able to provide comes from the combination of pledge income, registration fees – youth, adult, family or by donation to ensure that no one is excluded – a bake sale held during the run, and donations provided at the school’s Christmas concert.

Cameron acknowledges that it is mostly the school community that participates, but noted that the event was posted on the website of the P.E.I. RoadRunners. That promotion draws some who want to participate for the cause even if the distance isn’t very much of a challenge for them.

Cameron hoped that having two Summerside Capitals hockey team levels involved would promote extra registrations. The Capitals solicited pledge donations, and offered passes to Sunday’s game to all registrants.

“A lot of (non-runner participants) will walk it, because it is a walk-run,” admitted Cameron, as the cause is the most important aspect of the event.

Everyone was advised of the conditions and the need for caution along MacEwen Road, the Rotary Friendship Trail and the Confederation Trail route. Teacher Devon Sherry-McLeod, a Zumba instructor, also led a warm-up session before the run got underway.

Tyson Arsenault, a member of the Bantam AAA Summerside Capitals, has some running experience through the track and field program at Evangeline School, but he had never run in December conditions.

“I’m going to be jogging, just trying to keep up,” with team mates, he anticipated.

Athena grade-7 student Erin Arsenault finished the run with a rosy red glow on her face, but chattering teeth revealed it was not all just a result of five kilometers of exertion. She is experienced with cross-country running, but found the trail slippery. She said she fell once, but was not injured. Despite the challenges, she would like to continue such efforts, with at least one change.

“Dress warmer,” she declared, reflecting the goal of assisting families who may not be able to manage that through their own resources.

Organizations: Athena Consolidated school, Capitals, Evangeline School

Geographic location: MacEwen Road

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