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Annual Race Brings Families Together, Helps Nonprofit Care for the Needy

by on June 21, 2014 2:00 PM

No one understands the importance of family and health like the House of Care.

A small State College-based nonprofit, the House of Care provides a nurturing home and around-the-clock care for five low-income residents who have medical conditions. With little money and no familial support, House of Care board member Angela Linse fears the group's residents would be forced to live on the streets if the HoC didn’t exist.

Though the home’s residents may lack familial or monetary support, they have an extended family of supporters and State College residents who help keep the home afloat. Saturday morning was the third annual “There’s No Place Like Home” 5K and 10K race event, with over 100 runners coming out to spend time with their families, stay in good shape and support an important cause.

HoC board member Jeannine Lozir says events like Saturday’s race are an important part of how the organization stays in operation. Since the home’s residents are low-income, over two thirds of the nonprofit’s annual budget is raised through donations and special events.

“We wanted to do an event about wellness and health, because they are both gifts that people take for granted until they no longer have them – like our residents,” Lozir says, explaining the event’s origins.

Tabitha Quinn from Altoona made the drive to Medlar Field on Penn State’s east campus to run with her husband David and daughter Jaden on Saturday. She says events like this not only help keep her healthy and give her an opportunity to give back to the community, but they also let her grow closer with her family.

Quinn has been running competitively since high school and says she always valued the camaraderie she felt with other runners. Even though it’s not a team sport, she says running is a “family sport.” 

“The people you’re involved with when you run become your running family,” Quinn says, adding that things have come full circle as she runs with her own biological family.

Jacob Mowery, a high school student from Nescopeck, made the long drive from eastern Pennsylvania with his mother to see the Penn State campus. Mowery, who is considering attending the university, says that Saturday’s long run around campus is the perfect tour.

Rachel Jones, Mowery’s aunt, drove from Pittsburgh to State College to reconnect with her sister and nephew. When she heard about the House of Care race, she was excited to support a good cause while spending time with her family.

State College resident Jim Powell says an old football injury kept him from running on Saturday morning, but he still came down to show his support for the House of Care. A friend of several board members, Powell says that the home fills an important need in the community. By supporting this cause he says he is helping to build a network of support for other nonprofits like Coaches Vs. Cancer, with which Powell is involved.

"In a small community like this everyone supports everyone else and their causes," Powell says. 

Having grown from 50 to over 100 participants in three years, Lozir says that this year’s “No Place Like Home” race was the most successful yet and will allow the organization to “make a significant dent” in this month’s expenses with a total of almost $5,000 raised.

Lozir hopes that this annual race will continue to grow throughout the future and says that the House of Care “is in a very fortunate place to be in such a generous community.”

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Michael Martin Garrett is a general assignment reporter for StateCollege.com, a graduate of Penn State and a published poet. He's also a musician who plays bass in an indie rock band.
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