Like many other counties, Rock County was faced with budget cuts that hampered their ability to support foster parents and have retention activities. So, in 2010, the Foster Care Coordinator, Jenni, and her colleagues decided to organize a 5K run to raise funds for their foster families. They called their event "Fast Feet for Families" and had their first race in 2011.
During the first year, the event was small and they raised only $600. However, over the next few years, the event grew to incorporate other fund raising activities including a raffle for baskets of donated items. They also partnered with local businesses who donated things like t-shirts, prizes, water, and snacks. The event now attracts more than 150 runners and, over the past few years, they have raised $6,000 each race. To date, Fast Feet for Families has raised nearly $19,000 for foster families in Rock County. The event also has the benefit of making the foster care program more visible in the community, and raises awareness about the need for foster homes.
The county uses the money from Fast Feet for Families to support foster families. They especially like to recognize foster parents that go above and beyond with gift cards and other treats. The agency also uses the money for holiday parties and an annual fall festival for their families.
According to Jenni, organizing an event such as this does take some work; but she also says that it's doable with the support of the rest of the agency. Staff from across the county come together to plan the event, sell raffle tickets, and get items donated.