The Race To Richmond: What Imprint Does and How You Can Help

On October 20th, one of Cobb’s service technicians will start a run of epic proportions: a five day, 168-mile-journey from Danville, Virginia, to Richmond, Virginia. This is not a race someone runs on a whim — but, when talking about someone like Steve Scott, you get the feeling he’d be ready for any race, at any time.

Our CobtoberRun 2020: Race To Richmond is more than an incredible feat of human perseverance — it is Imprint’s newest mission to help raise hope in our community.

THE COVID EFFECT ON CHARITABLE GIVING

In the spring of this year, we had to make the tough decision to postpone our annual Golf Tournament due to the pandemic. We were hoping this wouldn’t happen, because this tournament is Imprint’s biggest fundraiser every year.

The funds we raise from the Golf Tournament dictate what Imprint can achieve in a given year, but we held out hope that we could hold our annual fundraiser in September. After all, early Fall is perfect golfing weather.

But the pandemic continued, and rather than postponing our Golf Tournament, we had to cancel it for 2020, and wait until 2021. It wasn’t an easy decision, but it was the right one — we didn’t want to do anything unsafe.

During the Spring of this year, and the initial swell of COVID, virtually every small non-profit in our area was forced to stop their operations as they figured out how to safely deal with the pandemic — and it was broader than that, too. Schools were shutting down, forcing Imprint to press pause on many of our initiatives.

While Imprint does a lot of good, one of our favorite projects (and our first ever initiative) is our partnership with Backpacks of Love. Every month, Cobb employees would drop what they were doing, head down to our warehouse, and pack hundreds (576) bags of supplemental weekend food. These bags end up in the backpacks of students at local elementary schools who face food insecurity at home. But, like everything else, this couldn’t continue in the face of the pandemic.

We have to commend our schools, because there has been a lot of community involvement. During the end of the 2020 school year, organizations like Hands On RVA were doing so much to set up food distribution centers at schools across Richmond. Henrico and Hanover County schools were doing the same.

The resources were there, but the access wasn’t. The reality is that some families just didn’t have the ability to physically make it to the food distribution centers. We wanted to help in our tried-and-true ways, especially with those Backpacks of Love 

However, for this school year, Henrico schools (our recipients of Backpacks of Love) are teaching virtually for the first nine weeks. There isn’t anyone to give backpacks to, and with the threat of COVID, schools may not be comfortable accepting food donations.

All in all, it is a tough situation to be in. The schools are meeting the need as best they can, but there are going to be kids who are falling through the cracks.

FROM GLOOM TO HOPE

This is where intrepid runner Steve Scott comes in.

Steve is not your average runner. At the age of 53, Steve started to run, and quickly set and met goals — 5ks, 10ks, half-marathons, and finally his first marathon in 2016.

He ran his first marathon in the time required to qualify for the Boston Marathon. And after Steve had completed three Boston Marathons, he knew he wanted to do more with his running — to give back.

So, Steve started his own non-profit organization, Run For Health, and began to raise money for cancer research. And to truly grab people’s attention, Steve did what most runners only dream of achieving: the 7 x 7 x 7. Seven marathons, in seven days, on seven continents.

Yes, you read that right — over the course of seven days, Steve, along with 34 other super-runners, completed seven marathons spanning seven continents. From Antarctica to Brazil, South Africa to Spain, Steve ran to raise money for the fight against cancer.

When Steve finished the last of his seven in Miami, he was already thinking about what he could do next. And then, COVID hit. Steve was already disappointed his plans to do good would have to be put on hold, but when Cobb’s Golf Tournament was canceled for the second time this year, he knew he had to do something.

Steve is the picture that appears next to “charitable” in the dictionary — he knows that there is such a need for kids across our community, and across Virginia. And, in true runner form, he knew what he had to do — run from his hometown of Danville to Richmond 

When he first brought this idea to us, there was really only one response we had: “Holy moly, let’s do this!”

This is something we’ve never done — but we know with Steve’s passion, 168 miles is nothing more than another goal to accomplish. For Steve, it’s not about him or the run — it’s about the kids.

HOPE GROWS WITH EVERY STEP

This is a journey we want to share with you. That is why for as much of the Race To Richmond as possible, we will livestream Steve’s run. There are plenty of ways anyone can get involved; from $1 Sponsor-A-Mile options, to raffle tickets, or more substantial sponsorships.

All in all, this whole sequence of events is such a Cobb thing to happen — to have all of these events canceled, only for a Cobb employee to step in to make a difference. Steve is the most passionate runner you will probably ever meet, but he is even more excited to raise money and raise awareness for kids, and the mission of Imprint. 

It’s reasons like these that Imprint was founded — it was designed to be an avenue for all of Cobb’s employees to serve our community together. Right now, everyone is spread out, isolated in their homes. There is power in coming together, even from afar, to help the most vulnerable among us.

Coming together for the Race To Richmond is important, because there is so much need. Teachers are doing their best, but they don’t have the resources to fully support food-insecure children during the pandemic.

Younger students don’t understand what is going on — and compounding on this issue, their parents have lost their jobs, creating even less reliable access to food. There is a lot of need out there, and that’s what Imprint was made to solve. Our heart has always been for these kids in the underserved areas of our community and our mission is to ensure that every child has access to a solid foundation that can propel them towards success. We just want to help wherever and whenever we can.

Simply put, it is really hard to help right now. But, if we come together, we’ll find a way. We’re excited to see Steve cross that finish line on October 24th, and we’re excited to see what comes to fruition from the Race To Richmond, no matter how much money we raise.

It’s such an honor that Steve volunteered to do this. Every dollar raised is another way for Imprint to honor the needs of children in our community and the one man who is running 168 miles to help grow hope.

To learn more about how you can help hope grow, visit Imprint’s CobbtoberRun 2020: Race To Richmond sponsorship page.

Noah Maphis
I’m the Director of Community Outreach and Corporate Events and am also the Director of Cobb’s 501(c) 3 nonprofit organization, Imprint. I’ve been involved in nonprofit work since 2017, and have worked on both causes local to Virginia, and across the world, including Costa Rica, and Latvia. In my free time, I like being outside, hanging with my friends and family, and watching Beyoncé music videos.