The 2017 Barefoot Benefit, an event raising funds for Samaritan Place, will take place October 15 in Sequoyah Hills Park. Organized by students at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s Haslam College of Business, the Barefoot Benefit features a 5K foot race and 1K fun run that can be completed without shoes in the park’s lawn.
The event also is a festival of games and food appropriate for families, with live music provided by the band High Five Fist Bump. Registration and the festival begin at noon, and the races start at 2 p.m.
Samaritan Place, a Knoxville area non-profit, is dedicated to sheltering and supporting seniors in crisis. Haslam students enrolled in a service learning class led by Ernie Cadotte, professor of learning innovation, work with Samaritan’s Place to help senior citizens who without their own home.
“My students visit the seniors a couple of times during the semester, hosting an ice cream social and a Christmas party,” Cadotte said. “The Samaritan Place residents will participate in the Barefoot Benefit as special guests.”
Cadotte explained that proceeds and donations from past events have gone towards purchasing a large TV and better furniture for Samaritan Place.
“This year we are trying to help Samaritan Place buy bedroom furniture so it can expand into another wing of the building,” Cadotte said. “With additional furnishings, it will be able to house another 10 residents. There is a long line of people in need of emergency shelter.”
Rachel West, student lead coordinator for the Barefoot Benefit and a senior marketing major, is charged with managing the event’s sales team, handling donations, contacting sponsors, updating social media and coordinating logistics.
“Many of us don't think of seniors as not having a home to go to, so it is vital that we support them,” West said. “They deserve for their golden years to be just that: golden.”
Lucy Zhenghua Schulz, a senior marketing major and student organizer for the event, is responsible for coordinating sponsorships and donations, as well as promoting the event to local business and around campus.
“I am most excited to see the overall impact of Barefoot Benefit,” Schulz said. “I've never been extensively involved with something like this, and it feels really good to know I am doing something that will impact the community in a positive way.”
More information on the Barefoot Benefit, including registration information, can be found at: http://www.thebarefootbenefit.org/