By Dennis J. Freeman
Los Angeles-Hundreds of participants brought their jogging and walking shoes to the Children of the Caribbean’s Every Child Matters 5K Run/Walk at Loyola Marymount to help raise money for education essentials such as pencils, pads and backpacks.
Eric Close, best known for his starring role as Martin Fitzgerald on “Without a Trace” on CBS, was one of those individuals who got early Saturday morning to do his part in the morning-long event, which also featured musical acts and other activities.
Close said it felt good to come out and support the event even though it’s been a while since he last did a 5K run.
“I run, but not when I try to get to the finish line as fast as I can,” said Close, crossed the line at the end of the race in a little over 19 minutes. “It was a good turnout. There were a lot of people. I was really stoked to see that. We’re out just to bring some awareness to the charity and get people involved. Hopefully, a lot of kids will be going to school with their backpacks.”
Based in Beverly Hills, Children of the Caribbean is a nonprofit organization founded to enrich the lives of underserved children of the Caribbean. One of the ways the organization is doing that is trying to generate enough funds for children who are lacking basic and fundamental school supplies with the fundraising effort.
Close, whose wife, Keri, sits on the organization’s board, said this is what helping others and giving back is all about. Education is a global thing, he said.
“Education is important,” Close said. “In whatever you’re learning, education is going to help you. When there are people who don’t have that opportunity-it really helps when the private industry and people get involved. You can’t depend on the government to help you. That’s when people have to come together and dig into their wallets and their time to contribute. That’s how things really happen and get started.
“I think people often have a perception that the Caribbean is wealthy and that’s where everybody goes to go sailing on their yachts and lay on the beach. What they don’t realize is that is kind of the resort image. But outside of that people are lacking just basic things they need; healthcare, education, shelter. People need to be aware of that. We need to know that there are people in need. It’s just not just here in the United States; there is a need everywhere.”
The event was the first time that Jamaican native Rose Lanam said she had got up to do. It was well worth the sacrifice, she said.
“This was wonderful,” Lanam said. “It’s my first time trying to run or walk. It was absolutely wonderful. It was a lovely experience. It was for a great cause. As a Jamaican representing my part of the Caribbean, I think it is wonderful that we can represent all of the Caribbean and help all of the children.”