Dear Friends:

Awards were handed out to the fastest participants at the second Annual Chase Strides for SNAP fun run on June 22.

As I gazed around at the gathering of over 200 runners and walkers at Plantes Ferry Park in Spokane Valley earlier this month, it was clear that everyone in attendance was a winner, regardless of their time on the 5K course.

There was good energy in the air on this bright summer morning, the kind you feel at any celebration that recognizes and builds upon a spirit of community. Yes, some strode swifter than others over the park’s rolling hills but, ultimately, the event seemed more like a cheerful relay than a face-off between individual competitors.

Each day at SNAP, we engage in a competition against the often rugged inequities created by poverty. It could mean rescuing a family from the impending threat of foreclosure, providing a loan to help an entrepreneur to get an idea off the ground or installing a wheelchair ramp for a local senior who once dreaded scaling the stairs outside her home.

We see the same energy, drive and dedication of elite runners exemplified in clients who start their own businesses, buy their first homes and bear down to conserve energy or build their credit. In nearly every case, the path is anything but smooth, but the reward is most certainly worth the effort.

The great ultramarathon runner Dean Karnazes, who holds the distinction of completing 50 marathons in 50 states over 50 consecutive days, once had these words of advice for runners seeking motivation.

“Run when you can, walk if you have to, crawl if you must,” he said. “Just never give up.”

Since 1966, SNAP has been supporting our neighbors in Spokane County who are progressing along the path to self-reliance at a variety of paces. We understand there is discouragement and frustration along the way. The key, as Karnazes reminds us, is making sure to move forward.

Chase Bank caught the vision of SNAP and the theme of positive momentum when they approached us over two years ago about the idea for a collaborative fundraiser. As we look ahead to our third annual run next year, we appreciate the opportunity to partner with Chase and a growing list of sponsors willing to support SNAP as we make strides to enhance stability in Spokane County.

As the race continues, it’s nice to know we’re running with the wind.

In gratitude,

Julie Honekamp, SNAP CEO