Before the first rays of sunlight crossed the horizon, volunteers made their way to Vicksburg’s Farmers Market for the 2nd annual True Color Run. Partnering agencies were setting up tents, and AmeriCorps quietly yet quickly assisted in all last minute preparations. Before we knew it, over 500 clean, crisp, white LIVE UNITED shirts converged to historic downtown Vicksburg patiently waiting for the color to fly.
The 2016 Campaign Kickoff started with a colorful blast and participants began their journey through red, blue, green, purple, and pink clouds of dust which each symbolized the great work being done in our community as we LIVE UNITED. Several businesses and volunteers lined the streets waiting to encourage and celebrate those who had chosen to LIVE UNITED. Many people were surprised with color, great music, dancing and even a few balloons as they raced to the finish line. This year’s 2.45 mile route featured a better glimpse of the city by leading the runners through our award-winning Main Street and past the beautiful murals that tell the story of our community.
As individuals crossed the finish line, there were many small victories that took place under the haze of color. Those who crossed the finish line first were the overall winners; however, the True Color Run would like to also recognize the other victories that embody the mission of United Way. For many, the 2nd annual True Color Run was their first organized race symbolizing the true bravery it takes to make a difference. To see people cross the finish line together celebrating their accomplishments created a sense of unity which truly represents who we are. Even those who were exhausted from giving their all still managed to push through to reach their goal. These victories were all celebrated at the True Color Run After Party in a colorful way with good food, music, dancing, laughing, and truly enjoying the people in our community. To see over 1,000 people come together to learn more about our partnering agencies accomplished our goal of creating a larger stage to share the services we have to offer.
This could not have been possible without the full support of our community. We had over 500 runners, with nearly 500 volunteers, with the support of 26 sponsors, who all made the conscious decision to make a difference in our community. The True Color Run will assist in breaking the cycle of poverty, empowering individuals to make good decisions, providing emergency assistance to those in need, teaching life skills and promoting personal growth, providing services to our elderly population, making healthcare and mental healthcare affordable for families in need, and providing safe shelter for women and children in our community just to name a few. This is what we accomplished in just one day. Could you imagine LIVING UNITED for 365 days a year?
As the dust settles, I challenge you to get involved with the same spirit, tenacity, courage, unity, and passion that you displayed during the True Color Run. On your way to work Monday morning, you may have noticed the absence of color along the streets; however, the memories you made and the difference you made in the life of another person will last forever. We would like to thank the Vicksburg Post, the City of Vicksburg, and Warren County for walking beside us in our journey to LIVE UNITED. It is with a huge heart that we thank everyone for always embracing the United Way of West Central Mississippi and we look forward to meeting this year’s 2016 Campaign Goal with YOU!