By Sharon Mager

ANNAPOLIS, Md.—Weems Creek Baptist Church will have their second annual “The Church and State 5k” on April 22 to raise money for food backpack programs for “Services from the Heart Backpack Buddies,” serving Eastport Elementary School and Germantown Elementary School’s backpack buddies program. Elevate Church, a new plant in the Eastport area, is partnering to assist.

Last year 125 people ran. This year the church is expecting at least 175.

Coordinator David Barrett, Weems Creek Church associate pastor, said last year’s race opened many doors in the community and allowed the church to know and be known, and to have many Gospel conversations. That’s the purpose.

The community has rallied around the church including a local fire company, and local restaurants including “Naval Bagels,” who will provide coffee and bagels and Whole Foods Market, who will provide bananas and water. Chevy’s Fresh Mex and Subway are providing gift cards and coupons for each runner’s “goodie bag.”

The church is expanding the race offerings this year, providing more for those on the sidelines. They’ll have a static display by West Annapolis Fire Company #40, and face painting by “Services from the Heart.”

“We call the race ‘The Church and State 5K,’ knowing that there are hot buttons that go with a phrase like that. But we want to be a church known to be for our community,” he said, one that partners with other community groups and businesses to help school children.

Barrett said school backpack buddies programs  provide, backpacks filled with nutritious food for children who would otherwise not have a nutritious meal and perhaps no meal at all. Money raised by the race helps fund that program.

“We see it to work and make our community better, and to have Gospel conversations we wouldn’t normally have,” Barrett said.

Race details and registration information is on the church website.