The donations that participants raise benefit Secret Meals for Hungry Children – a program created by Alabama Credit Union to provide meals for children who can’t access nutritional meals during the weekend, while they’re away from school.
“We hope that through this triathlon, we can encourage our community’s youth to maintain an active lifestyle and help provide the financial support needed to feed the children in our community that are faced with food insecurity during the weekends,” said Jasmine Wells, marketing assistant for Alabama Credit Union.
The 6th Annual Tuscaloosa Kids Triathlon gets underway at 9 a.m. on the 19th. Kids will be encouraged to complete all three sections of a typical triathlon: swimming, biking, and running. Helpful devices, such as training wheels and floatation devices, are allowed.
The triathlon is open to children who will be between the ages of 5-16 as of Dec. 31. The race is sanctioned and regulated by USA Triathlon, making it a safe, positive environment for the young triathletes. To ensure the Triathlon stays beginner-friendly, the length of the race will vary depending on the normal skill set of each age group.
Inexperienced participants had the chance to test their skills at the “Learn to Tri” training clinic, held last month. The children rotated through stations for each section of the race, and learned best practices, including how to transition.
Started by Alabama Credit Union, Secret Meals for Hungry Children has fed thousands of children at risk for going hungry when public schools are closed. Research estimates 22 percent of children in the Alabama and Florida areas are living in poverty and don’t always have access to nutritional meals.
“I believe that we are not only providing these children with nutritious weekend food packs, but to some of these children, we are delivering hope,” Wells said. “A hope that knows that this community truly cares about them, and that better things are coming their way.”
Currently, the programs serves over 2,300 of these children by discreetly slipping nutritional meals into their backpacks every Friday. Because of support from the local community, Alabama Credit Union has never had to turn down a request to add more children to the program, Wells said.
“My favorite part about working with Secret Meals is knowing that I am doing a little bit each and every day to contribute to a cause greater than myself – childhood hunger.”
To register for the 2018 Tuscaloosa Kids Triathlon, visit secretmeals.org. The registration fee is $45.