Over 400 people gathered at the Killeen Community Center on Saturday morning to participate in the Third Annual Refuge Corporation 5K walk/run.
The Refuge Corporation, is a nonprofit that operates food pantry and homeless programs in Killeen and Copperas Cove.
The participants were greeted by music, fruit and enthusiasm on the warm late spring morning. People were in groups talking about the race, eager to begin.
Staff members from the Jazzercise Killeen Fitness Center showed up early to warm up all of the participants with Jazzercise.
“I always need some exercise. So, it’s a twofold thing, personally gives me some exercise and then morally and ethically it allows me to help someone that has a need,” participant Harlan Williams said.
The Refuge Corporation will use the revenue from the race participation fee to provide shelter for homeless people in the area, according to the Executive Director of the Refuge Foundation Joseph Solomon. “There is such a need in the Central Texas area,” Solomon said. “There’s over 500 homeless people in the Central Texas area.”
The Refuge Corporation uses its shelters, and also partners with other shelters in the community to house people in need, according to Solomon. The corporation also uses hotels in the area to provide shelter.
“It helps them with food, it helps them with clothing and all the basic needs that a homeless person would need,” Solomon said.
Solomon said he felt humbled at the number of people who showed up to participate.
“This represents the city,” Solomon said. “The ones that are here are representing others that could not make it.”