Here’s your annual chance to eat lots of chocolate for a great cause and get some exercise, all at the same time.
The 7th Annual Chocolate Run to benefit Open Hearts Community Mission is set for Saturday. Registration for the run is on-going and will remain open through 8 a.m. on Saturday.
Open Hearts Community Mission is a faith-based ministry dedicated to serving the homeless. The Open Hearts mission states, “To feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, restore the downtrodden and share the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”
The inaugural Chocolate Run was the brainchild of the Leadership Bulloch Class of 2013 to benefit what was then only a dream and idea to build a place to serve the homeless of Bulloch County. That race and subsequent ones every year since have added up to a grand total of close to $180,000 and the shelter opened in December 2017.
Last year, almost 700 participants took part in the race.
Racers convene at the Georgia Southern University RAC Pavilion for a 5K, 10K or Fun Run. Swag bags and t-shirts are available, as long as supplies last, and chocolate is involved. Definitely chocolate.
“The mission was a leap of faith from the beginning,” said Delia Mobley, Board chairman for Open Hearts. “I can’t say enough about how wonderful the community and city officials have been to support this mission.”
The 30-bed mission was built to allow for growth to meet the needs of Bulloch County’s homeless. Residents are required to work, or actively seek employment, and save towards independent living. All residents have a case manager, mentor and life coach to help them craft goals and markers for moving forward in life.
“The Mission shares the Gospel of Jesus Christ by extending a hand-up, not a handout, to our friends and neighbors in Bulloch County,” Mobley said.
One current resident, who moved into the facility with her children in July, said that Open Hearts Community Mission has taken care of all their basic needs, as well as encouraged their spiritual growth.
“A roof over your head, three meals a day, and devotionals about God and Jesus. There’s a learning room and family rooms for those that need them.”
The resident said the Mission teaches residents how to save for needs, not wants.
“I came in here really angry,” she said. “I didn’t want to be here. I didn’t want to have to bring my kids here.”
The resident’s feelings changed quickly, however, when she came to realize that people really cared about the well-being of her family.
“If anybody is in need of a place like this, I highly recommend Open Hearts, because they really care about you here. Not just a roof over your head, but they really care about you as a person and about helping you get your life back.”