Virtual event raises funds for people living in darkness
“You Light The Night Global 5K,” a first ever virtual event sponsored by Unite to Light, will take place from Friday through Sept. 28.
The campaign is designed to help people stay active and engaged during this time of uncertainty while increasing awareness of the 1 billion people living without electricity across the globe.
“For these people, sheltering at home during the pandemic has added hardship. Students from Mexico to Malawi have trouble keeping up with assignments in dark huts. Midwives are often the only trained medical providers in a community and are now doing double duty training people on how to wash hands, wear face coverings and maintain social distance. Our neighbors experiencing homelessness have been cut off from services and are fearful of going to shelters,” said Megan Birney, president and CEO of the Santa Barbara-based Unite to Light.
The mission of the nonprofit organization is to manufacture and distribute efficient, durable, low-cost solar lamps to people without access to electricity.
“This event is a way for people to give back while also staying connected to the community. Over a period of 10 days, people are invited to walk, run, hike, roll, bike, paddle or swim 5 kilometers (3.1 miles) in a location of their choosing,” added Ms. Birney.
Participants can register on the website www.unitetolight.org and sign up as an individual or as part of a team for a suggested donation of $10, the cost of a solar light, but there is no minimum fundraising commitment.
“This is a great opportunity for people to raise funds to send solar lights and solar power to causes that they care about,” said Ms. Birney. “For every $10 raised, we’ll donate a solar Luke Light or for $30 raised, we’ll donate a charger.”
UTL encourages participants to share inspiration with friends and loved ones by posting photos they take of their activity using the hashtag #YouLightTheNight.
Sofia Tognotti, lead youth organizer of UTL’s fundraiser, said, “During this time, we thought of a 5K because we can still socially distance while being active and making a difference.”