Food for Life Network (“FFLN”) AIDS Marathon/Half-Marathon 1/25/09

To: Food for Life Network and Care Resource Friends
From: The Williams Family
Re: FFLN AIDS Marathon/Half-Marathon
Good afternoon! My name is Stephanie Williams. I, along with my cousin Sonja Smith and our uncle Lee Williams, hope to get to know all of you in the upcoming months. However, who we are is far less important than why I am writing you today. I wanted to let you know that we have partnered with Care Resource and Food for Life Network to organize and coordinate the first Food for Life Network (“FFLN”) AIDS Marathon/Half-Marathon, which will take place on January 25, 2009, in Miami, Florida. We are reaching out to you because we need your participation and support to make this event a success. Before I tell you how you can help, I would like to take a moment to explain why my family has decided to coordinate the run and why we chose Food for Life Network.

Our uncle was diagnosed HIV+ more than 20 years ago. His life, like many long-time survivors, chronicles not only the emergence of one of the deadliest diseases of modern history but also the world’s response to meet the challenges posed by the disease. His life chronicles treatments, drugs, social and political policies as well as medical breakthroughs that have, in one way or other, impacted the lives of millions of people. His life chronicles a time when many, including some in the medical profession, believed that no cure was possible to now when we know that a cure is within our reach. His life chronicles the laughter as well as the loss of most of his best friends. We have watched our uncle closely during the years, and there were times when, honestly, we expected him to just give up. He didn’t. Instead, he managed to do what seemed impossible: get up the next day and help others less fortunate than him. Therefore, it came as no surprise when he announced earlier this year that he wanted to run not only for those that have passed but also for those who are still with us.

Our uncle was originally registered to train with the National AIDS Marathon Training Program to raise money for a national AIDS organization, but the South Florida arm of the program was cancelled. Two hundred registered participants were left without a trainer or organization. Instead of giving up on the idea altogether, my uncle expressed a desire to finish what he started. Our family decided that the cause was more important than the trainer and that we would do whatever it took to support him. We subsequently learned that had he raised money for the original organization, only fifty percent (50%) of the proceeds would have gone towards the cause. We found that percentage unacceptable. We believe that 100% of the money raised for an organization should go to that organization. Our uncle previously volunteered at FFLN, and he is still impressed by and amazed at how much they do for the South Florida community. For these reasons, we selected FFLN as our fundraising benefactor.

As you probably already know, Food for Life Network is a non-profit organization that provides groceries, meals and nutritional education to eliminate malnutrition and starvation in men, women and children living with HIV/AIDS in Miami-Dade County. They are committed to delivering services with compassion and confidentiality, to fostering client dignity and independence, and to enhancing clients’ quality of life. Since 1987, Food for Life Network volunteers and staff have provided millions of meals and groceries to people living with HIV/AIDS at no cost to their clients but through the generous support of donors. FFLN is a part of Community AIDS Resource, Inc. (aka “Care Resource”).

Care Resource has been providing excellent services to the South Florida community for twenty five (25) years! It is a 501[c](3) non-profit, multi-cultural, community based AIDS service organization, which through education, prevention, research, care & treatment, and support services, Care Resource improves upon the health and overall quality of life of our diverse South Florida communities in need. Rooted in the 1998 merger of Health Crisis Network (1983) and Community Research Initiative (1989), Care Resource is now South Florida’s oldest and largest HIV/AIDS service organization and a true leader in the community.

After meeting with the wonderful and compassionate staff at Care Resource and FFLN, our family is more convinced than ever that we chose the right organization and that our help, along with your help, will make a difference right here in our own community. YOU can help in a number of ways.

FIRST, we need participants who will run (or walk) on January 25, 2009. Each participant will be responsible for raising a minimum of $500.00. We feel this minimal contribution goal is more than reasonable. Our research revealed that many similar fundraisers require participants to raise as much as four times the amount we are requiring.

To get started, go to the Food for Life Network AIDS Marathon webpage and register. Retrieve the FFLN discount code. Next go to ING Miami Marathon website and register for the marathon or half-marathon. Please note that while the ING Miami Marathon registration deadline is January 17, 2009, the FFLN AIDS Marathon REGISTRATION DEADLINE is DECEMBER 23, 2008. Our deadline is set to comply with ING Miami Marathon’s procedures, which require all charities to give them the total number of participants 30 days prior to the event.

Understand that while all participants must register with ING Miami Marathon to participate in the run/walk on January 25, 2009, you are free to train on your own so long as you register with FFLN AIDS Marathon and raise the minimal required amount by January 25, 2009. We have started accepting contributions/donations.

Don’t forget to get your FFLN AIDS Marathon discount code before registering with ING Miami Marathon. Don’t forget the DEADLINE to register is December 23, 2008.

SECOND, you can help by making a personal contribution or raising money on behalf of a participant. We know that our economy is facing huge challenges, and that you may not have as much to spare as you normally would. That’s ok. We are simply asking that you give what you can. Just think about it: If 1,000 people donated as little as $25.00, we could raise $25,000 just from INDIVIDUAL contributions! That’s half of our goal!

Check with your employer to see if they provide incentives for your fundraising efforts (e.g., matching donations). Check with local businesses to see if they would be interested in supporting this cause. You may be a member of a church or other organization that wants to contribute. Also, you can use your social and professional networking forums to raise money. Please tap into all of your networks.

THIRD, you can help by spreading the word. Forward this e-mail or the web link to all of your friends and family. Tell everyone you know about the organization, its work, AIDS awareness, and the marathon! We will periodically update the webpage and send out newsletters. Don’t ignore these crucial bits of information, because we are constantly working on new ways to make this a fun and successful event! Read them. Pass them on!

With your support, we know that we can raise money to help FFLN get through these tough times ahead. With your support, we know that we can give a voice to all those who are no longer with us and be a voice for all those who still are!

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us via email or directly at 305-576-1234 Ext 257. We look forward to hearing from all of you!

The Holidays are just around the corner. Help us get ready. We are accepting donations now. Register today to participate in the marathon or

Thank you for your time and contributions to this important cause.

Stephanie Williams, J.D., Organizer/Coordinator
Sonja Smith, Organizer/Coordinator/Half-Marathon Participant
Lee Williams, Coordinator/Half-Marathon Participant
(aka: The Williams Family)

Wade Patterson, Director of Finance and Information Services, Care Resource & Food for Life Network
Margene Ragsdale, Grants and Contracts Manager, Care Resource & Food for Life Network
Christopher Donahue, PR/Marketing Manager, Care Resource & Food for Life Network