‘Will run for food!’

St. Louis resident runs 100 miles in Forest Park and raises over $30,000 to help those struggling with food insecurity

By Charlotte Beard

“Will run 100 miles for food!” That is the name of a GoFundMe page created by 51-year-old Tim Burke, principal at Edward Jones, to raise $30,000. The idea is to raise $300 for every mile. 

On May 16, Burke began the process of repeatedly running the two-mile loop in Forest Park for 100 miles and completed the challenge the following day. The fundraiser supports Operation Food Search (OFS) which, in addition to the people they were already helping every month, their giving has increased due to COVID-19. 

Burke himself started off the fundraiser by donating $10,000 towards his goal. Though at the time of this story Burke has exceeded his goal, donors may still contribute by visiting the GoFundMe page: https://www.gofundme.com/f/trfzp-will-run-for-food.

Burke began long-distance racing in 2010 and completed his first 200-mile run in 2018 which he completed in 77 hours. In 2012, he raised approximately $50,000 to benefit Southside Early Childhood Center, where he served on its board for nine years with the last three years as president. 

Burke’s desire to support city-related causes where he lives is what drives him to raise funds for organizations that provide community support. 

“One thing that strikes me about the city is that there is so much need here; there are so many opportunities to help. One of the things that we really try to do is (figure out) where we can really help make a difference and then see what we can do.”

Burke’s recent cause for OFS stemmed from his wife Sandra’s volunteerism with the organization. According to Burke, she took part in an OFS volunteer opportunity by way of Edward Jones for the nonprofit’s Operation Backpack program. Her experience with OFS began three years ago and she has been involved with the nonprofit since that time.

“It really resonated with her,” Burke stated. “We live in the city and it touched her how many kids were going home over the weekend without nutritious food. Their most nutritious meals are when they’re at school.”

OFS has been a major food and nutrition partner for St. Louis County’s school districts, not limited to their aid in creating Normandy School Collaborative’s Viking Grill last fall school year.

“One thing that I’ve realized over the course of my life is that any step that you take to help is a step in the right direction. You don’t have to take 200,000 steps like I’m taking this weekend,” he said of this past weekend. “(Whatever way) people feel compelled or inspired to help is (going to) be a bonus.”

The GoFundMe administrators will directly send all funds raised via Burke’s page to OFS.

“In addition to helping others I hope to just inspire people to get out and exercise and be healthy,” stated Burke. “I’m going to be running in a PPE mask the whole time for two reasons: to show support for all the great people that have to wear those masks all day every day and (as a reminder that) May 18 doesn’t mean mask off, it means put your mask on even more than you may have be wearing in the past because everybody’s going to be closer together.” 

CUTLINE: Submitted photos On May 16, Tim Burke began the process of repeatedly running the two-mile loop in Forest Park for 100 miles and completed the challenge the following day to raise $30,000 to support Operation Food Search.