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The 5K race, put on by Madison's Knights of Columbus Council 10232, will benefit Madison City Schools students with learning disabilities.

5K Tootsie Roll to benefit Madison City Schools Nov. 3

MADISON — The public will have a chance to support local students with special learning needs through the Madison Knights of Columbus’ first-ever Tootsie Roll 5K run/walk Nov. 3.

Jerome Villarreal, deputy grand knight for Knights of Columbus (KofC) Council 10232 in Madison, said the council typically conducts their drives through an average of six storefront solicitations. This year, Villarreal said KofC has only been able to hold drives at two stores: Ace Hardware on Hughes Road and Walmart on Highway 72. In an effort to increase their fundraising, KofC decided to try the 5K this year as a new method of fundraising for the community.

“Giving to those in need is the first principle of the Knights of Columbus Order,” Villarreal said. “We hope to use what we’ve learned this first year to grow this event in order to benefit more students each year.”

One hundred percent of the proceeds will benefit Madison City Schools students. In the past, Villarreal said funds raised have helped MCS obtain items like manipulative tools, audiometers and learning aides. Dr. Maria Kilgore, director of special education for Madison City Schools, said the funds allow teachers to acquire a wide variety of class materials. These include books, supplies, and even items for students to learn crucial life skills, such as food for cooking and laundry detergent for cleaning clothes.

“Teachers will also buy technology, programs and apps to help students,” Kilgore said.

Some other items MCS teachers have purchased before include headphones, cleaning supplies, storage bags, chairs for a reading nook, seats for technology programs, speech materials for language enhancement and adapted P.E. equipment, according to Kilgore.

Villarreal lauded Kilgore as a “staunch supporter” of KofC’s efforts.

“She and her staff often help in our drive efforts as volunteers as well,” Villarreal noted.

The 5K will kick off from Heritage Elementary School at 7:30 a.m. and run down the Bradford Creek Greenway to Mill Road. Participants will turn around there and race back up to Heritage to complete the route.

Registration for the 5K is open until Oct. 30. The cost is $25 to participate. Runners can pick up their race packets a day early from noon-6 p.m. at Fleet Feet, located at 2722 Carl T Jones Drive SE in Huntsville. Same day pickup will also be available at the 5K’s starting point between 6:30-7:15 a.m. To register, visit the race website: runsignup.com/Race/AL/Madison/KofCTootsieRoll5K.

“Special needs programs are always in need of more help,” Villarreal said. “Please come out and support. If you cannot participate, you can also donate through the race website.”

Villarreal said KofC is an organization consisting solely of volunteers. The race is part of a nationwide effort of KofC councils to raise funds for those in need. For more information on Madison’s council, visit madison-kc.org.

Heritage Elementary School is located at 11775 County Line Rd. in Madison.

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