Someone asks, so what exactly does KAIR do? Well, here’s a breakdown of one Wednesday in February with 30 people sitting in the hallway in the back of Community Methodist Church in Marathon. From young to old, all nationalities and income brackets…
Paid four families’ utilities, bought a bus ticket, helped someone get a driver’s license, helped someone fill out an application for Good Health Clinic, bought a grill, filled a prescription. Helped someone with finding a rental, bought a car battery, paid two families’ first/last/security, paid for a hotel room so a mom and daughter wouldn’t have to sleep in a car another night, paid the rent for a single mom with two kids, and fed 45 families – for a total of 95 mouths.
That’s just one day.
“There’s a lot going on here,” said KAIR’s Marge Roberts, who is also in preparation for KAIR’s biggest fundraiser for the nonprofit, the Sombrero Beach Run taking place March 3.
The run was a big IF after this year, she explained. “We decided that we really wanted the community to come out and celebrate, so we lowered the price to $20 and just really hope the community will come out and support us as much as they always have.”
According to Theme Runs owner Beth Moyes, who helps produce the event each year, more than 400 people come out to make the 5, 10, or 15K challenges. She manages and hosts 17 races a year in Monroe County, but this Marathon race is special to her heart.
“Marathon is stronger than ever,” said Moyes, out of Key West. “The city was hit hard but banded together in repairing the beach to continue the tradition, which is more important than ever considering its beneficiaries are those suffering from low income and home displacement.”
Roberts agreed. “It’s uplifting to know we can still have it after everything this community has been through after the hurricane.”
Even before the hurricane, the race supported so many people in need. “The housing crisis was here long before the hurricane,” she said. “Our roles have changed a lot since the storm; we wanted to make sure nothing was being wasted.”
On that note, she was taking in tractor trailers of supplies for the Keys – rakes, shovels, generators and air conditioners. “Everyone was turning them away, and we took in everything we could,” she said.
One young family lost their boat in the storm. They have replaced the boat, but still needed help making it livable. Thanks to KAIR, the boat now has an air conditioner.
“We used to be just rent, utilities, car repairs,” said Roberts. “Now, we are flexible. We are stepping in where other agencies might not be able to.”
KAIR stands for Keys Area Interdenominational Resources. The nonprofit, which has been in the community since 1998, serves individuals and families in Marathon and the Florida Keys who have found themselves in crisis.
12th annual Sombrero Beach Run
Saturday, March 3
10K 8 a.m., 5K 9 a.m.
(Challenge is combination of both)
$20, pre-register at themeruns.com
Kids Fun Run, 10:30 a.m., free