About 100 runners braved the chilly temperatures and pouring rain on Saturday May 19, to participate in the Maniac Magee Run for the Homeless at Chatham Park Elementary School to benefit The Salvation Army of Norristown’s Family Shelter.
The two-mile run, now in its 20th year, was organized by the Chatham Park Parent-Teacher Association to celebrate the lessons learned in the book, “Maniac Magee” by Norristown native Jerry Spinelli who later raised his family in the Chatham Park community.
The novel, which won the esteemed Newbery Medal and is a favorite book to many schoolchildren, takes place in the Norristown area and is centered on Jeffrey Lionel Magee, an 11-year-old homeless boy, nicknamed Maniac Magee, who goes on the run in search of a place to belong.
The Chatham Park PTA, inspired by the story’s message, started the run to engage families in a fun activity and to raise money for an important cause in Spinelli’s hometown.
Since its inception, the annual event has raised more than $108,000 for The Salvation Army of Norristown, who’s Emergency Disaster Services team was on-hand to serve up hot chocolate and snacks to runners after they crossed the finish line. This year’s event raised $8,200.
Each year, The Salvation Army of Norristown serves more than 3,700 individuals in need, providing a permanent supportive housing program for families, “Code Blue” emergency overflow shelter services, music education and instruction for youth, summer camp, a senior support program, holiday meals and gift distribution to families in need, community meals, an emergency food pantry and worship services.