ring and run

Ring and Run supporters stand with a Ring and Run banner.

Submitted photo

With Christmas just on the horizon, Ring and Run is ready to ramp up its fundraising events for the giving season.

“Most of the people don’t think about Christmas in May or June so we try to hold the events when Christmas is on folks’ minds. It’s also the time of year that is most important because we receive letter nominations of families to help,” Ring and Run founder Mark Buttell said.

The nonprofit, which is in its fifth year, is named for the unique method it uses to give out monetary gifts. Known in some circles as ding dong ditch, Ring and Run sees its volunteers drop off monetary donations ranging from $150-$500 per person or family on unsuspecting door steps across the county.

Focused on giving back to people in financial need, the nonprofit’s goal is to bring cheer. Volunteers drop off the gifts in a two-week span, ending on Christmas Eve. In its first year, Buttell was able to raise $600 and help two families. In the past three years, the amount raised was about $8,000, which helped about 25 families.

After downsizing last year due to Buttell’s personal obligations, the nonprofit has come back full swing in 2017. Their goal is to help 30 or 40 families over the holiday.

“This is the first year that we had monthly meetings. With community and committee support we wanted to have monthly meetings to open up the community gates for Houston County,” Buttell said. “This year our primary focus is Caledonia. Next year we want to focus more on other cities in the county.”

Though the organization has about 15 members from around the county, the majority of members come from Caledonia.

“Ring and Run is here for that cancer patient that is consistently running into medical facilities and needs money for gas. It’s one less thing to worry about, especially during the holidays. Our goal is to put a smile on their face,” Buttell said.

As September kicks off, the nonprofit is planning a bowling tournament and silent auction Saturday, a Christmas rummage sale in Spring Grove on Oct. 7 and various pajama days at the public schools in the district.

A new fundraising event is the first Ring and Run and SmoothToe collaborative 5K.

”We have put on 5K run/walks for the last three years and raised over $60,000. Historically, the beneficiaries of 5Ks have been people with illness like cancer,” Smoothtoe owner Greg Hoscheit said. “It’s our way to give back. We don’t make anything on putting this event together. In fact, it costs us money but it’s our way to give to people in need. All the dollars go directly to the beneficiary.”

SmoothToe, Caledonia, sells medical-grade graduated compression socks. The company normally hosts the 5K twice a year; on the Saturday before Father’s Day and on the Saturday before the Caledonia Balloon Rally.

“That day the hot balloonists will set up baskets at the start and at the finish of the race,” Hoscheit said. “Our last 5K had 320 participants so we are expecting a good turnout. There will be a DJ, a bloody Mary bar and a silent auction.”

Buttell is looking forward to some friendly competition.

“Our goal is to include as many of the school kids as we can. It’ll be interesting to see how many students from each school or city compete,” he said.

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