The head coach of McNary High School’s cross country team, David Holcomb, wants to raise $12,000 to split between the Celtic program and Salem’s Liberty House (KEIZERTIMES/Matt Rawlings).

Most high school athletic programs hold some kind of fundraiser during the season to raise money for their team.

But the fundraiser that the McNary cross country squad is doing is a little more meaningful.

On Saturday, Sept. 14, McNary’s boys and girls cross country teams, along with head coach David Holcomb, will be holding a Miles for Hope fundraiser to benefit the Liberty House in Salem. 

Half of the funds will go towards the McNary cross country program’s goal to provide athletic wear for teammates in need, update training equipment and getting team apparel. The other 50 percent of the money will go directly to the Liberty House — a child abuse assessment center, serving both Marion and Polk County, that offers a safe, comfortable, child-friendly environment for children and their families facing concerns of abuse, neglect, trauma or grief.

“Having the McNary cross country team take on a project like this is extremely meaningful for Liberty House. In addition to helping raise vital funds which will enable us to serve more children and families, their actions are showing how the youth of our community can activate around a cause and truly make an impact. Child abuse and childhood trauma issues are something we can all work on together,” said Sean Young, who is the Chief Operations Officer at Liberty House. 

This will be Holcomb’s fourth year coaching at McNary, but it’s the first year they have done a fundraiser in support of a non-profit organization.

“Since I’ve started coaching here, I have wanted to do something like this. When I talked to the kids and gave them a couple of scenarios, they just got really excited about Liberty House,” Holcomb said. “It got their level of interest up and it made them want to run for a cause like that.”

Local businesses can support this event by signing up for a gold sponsorship ($250), platinum sponsorship ($500) or title sponsorship ($1,000). Athletes will also be attempting to gain pledges for the amount of miles that they run.

The goal is to raise $12,000 or more. The amount may seem like a lot, but with a crew that is passionate about giving back, Holcomb knows that his kids will be motivated. 

“We want every kid to get pledges to help our program, because we would like to do some things for our team, but what is unique about our kids is that they are kids that want to serve others. And they are excited about gifting these funds to Liberty House and the great work that they do with kids that our victims of child abuse,” Holcomb said. 

The run is also open to other coaches, alumni, parents and supporters of the program. The plan is to run from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the McNary track with the hope of amassing 750 total miles. 

“We’re looking forward to rallying the Keizer community, because the Keizer community does a lot of great work and we know that they ares supportive of our programs, but I think that they will be more supportive when they see that we’re giving back and not just selling discount cards and entertainment books. We’re really looking forward to it.”

For more information on how to support the event, contact Holcomb at [email protected]@salkeiz.k12.or.us.