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Howard Co. teens run 24 miles in 24 hours to raise money to help families in need

Donated $5,600 to Columbia Community Care
Posted at 6:03 PM, May 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-27 18:10:37-04

HOWARD CO. MD (WMAR) — Two Howard County high schoolers came up with it as a creative way to fundraise using their own passion—running. It left them very sore and shocked at the amount of money they were able to raise to help their neighbors.

On Saturday, Ella Hollida and Sadie Saula set out to run 24 miles in just 24 hours.

"We aren’t really able to get out much and we aren’t able to do the sports that we usually can and so we just wanted to try something new and try and challenge ourselves to see what we could do," said Hollida.

Bored during quarantine, what started as a challenge turned into a big fundraiser for Columbia Community Care, a grassroots organization feeding families during the pandemic.

"We wanted to do something for our community," said Hollida.

Wilde Lake High School teacher Erika Strauss Chavarria started the organization in March, right after schools closed.

"I already knew about the inequities and the poverty and the systemic issues that existed in my community before the crisis and I was listening to my students express their fears and concerns about what was going to happen with the crisis," said Chavarria.

Since then, they have fed thousands of families through meal sites and grocery deliveries, all funded by donations like the one from Hollida and Saula. Their total coming in at over $5,000!

"Every little bit counts. It really does. Any amount, but the amount of money they raised is astonishing and I am absolutely overwhelmed and grateful and it will make a massive impact on our families and what we are able to provide," said Chavarria.

The teens were shocked. The temporary soreness was definitely worth it.

"It definitely shows that although we have different opinions and differences in the community, we’re all one big community together and we all care for each other," said Saula.

Columbia community care is always looking for donations and volunteers. They run five meal sites Monday through Saturday, serving 500 families per day, and have made 2,000 grocery deliveries to families.

Anyone can go to the sites for meals, but the deliveries are just for families in Howard County.

"Columbia Community Care is a wonderful example of mutual aid and community care coming together to take care of one another during this time of crisis. I hope that that same spirit continues on once this crisis is technically over but I think it's important to also make sure that we understand that the issues that we see and the disparities and the inequities and the injustices and the hunger and the starvation and the poverty and the job loss and everything that we are seeing already exists in society. It has for hundreds of years. We really need to change the system that is causing the situation that so many of us are in," said Chavarria.