Race for families, fun and food

Proceeds from upcoming sprint triathlon in Oregon will help support Holt’s family preservation program in Ethiopia

Andrea Janssen with her family.

What do you do when an opportunity to support a great charity is paired with an opportunity to do something great for your body? You run with it. Or, in this case, you run, swim and bike! At least, that’s the hope of Andrea Janssen, founder and organizer of the annual Triathlon for Hunger sprint triathlon in John Day, Ore. Half the proceeds raised from this year’s August 24 race will benefit Holt’s family strengthening and preservation program in Ethiopia, while the other proceeds will go to local food banks.

Andrea, a doctor who works in John Day, started Triathlon for Hunger nearly six years ago to raise awareness about national and international hunger and give people the opportunity to improve their own health. For Andrea, fighting hunger in Ethiopia hits close to home. In 2008 and again in 2010, Andrea grew her family by adopting from Ethiopia through Holt.

“At first,” Andrea says, “we were on a list to adopt from China. Then Holt asked if I knew about their projects in Ethiopia. It felt like a sign from God, since I have experience working in Africa.”

Andrea traveled to Africa on medical missions trips a handful of times. In college, she worked in a hospital in Zambia. Later, she provided medical care in Kenya, Malawi, and most recently Rwanda, just to name a few. For Andrea, keeping families together in the region is a cause worthy of support. Here is where Holt steps in.

The 2009 Triathlon for Hunger team winners.

To meet the needs of orphaned and abandoned children in Ethiopia, Holt established an international adoption program in 2007. While adoption proved a successful way to bring Ethiopia’s homeless children into loving, permanent homes, Holt also began exploring ways to keep children in their birth families and their birth culture. In 2008, Holt introduced a family preservation program designed to help struggling Ethiopian families provide for their children.

“We really felt like if there was a way we could help fund families to stay together, that would be better than another Ethiopian child needing to be adopted,” Andrea says, as she takes a break from training for the sprint triathlon to answer some questions about the race. “That’s why we are raising money for the family preservation program.”

The Triathlon for Hunger is a three-leg race, including a 10-lap, 500-yard swim, a 12.4-mile bike ride, and a 3.1 mile run. Want to support the cause, but worried you aren’t exactly “triathlon” ready? No worries! You can compete with a team, and just do one leg of the race. The cost to register is $35 for an individual or $60 for a team. You can visit www.triathlonforhunger.com for more information about Andrea’s work, the race route and start time, or how to get involved as a volunteer.

“This is a great opportunity to raise awareness about hunger and bring together people from the community,” Andrea says. Make sure you register today!

Can’t make it to the race? You can still support Holt’s work in Ethiopia by sponsoring a child from Ethiopia or donating to Where Most Needed and specifying “Holt’s family strengthening program in Ethiopia” in the comments field. For more information about child sponsorship, click here.

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