By Rachel McGrath
Monday, June 8, 2009

LR 09AnewsMore than 900 people turned out early Sunday morning in Westlake Village to take part in a charity race raising money to provide daily meals to the housebound and the elderly in Thousand Oaks and Newbury Park.

The 16th annual Love Run, organized by Senior Concerns in Thousand Oaks, offered 5K and 10K races and a one-mile Family Fun Run.

The 2008 Love Run brought in $32,000 net with just fewer than 700 runners, and this year organizers hoped to raise $40,000.

“I’m quite confident at the moment we’ve reached our goal and probably exceeded it,” said Carol Freeman, the president of Senior Concerns, adding that she was “relieved” and “grateful” that so many people showed up to support the cause.

“Money is going away in other sources, and so fundraising is critical right now,” Freeman said.

The Love Run is the biggest fundraising event of the year for Senior Concerns, and all the money raised goes to benefit its Meals on Wheels program, which delivers affordable and nutritious meals to about 200 seniors. Last year, Senior Concerns delivered 47,884 meals with the help of 70 volunteers who donate their gas, time and vehicles, and the demand for the program continues to increase.

This year, Love Run organizers say, they reached out more than ever to the community hoping to attract more serious runners, corporate teams and vendors. It was the first time that microchip timing was used to time the runners, and the number of vendors with booths at the event was also higher than in previous years.

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