5k race to benefit Shepherd's Gate

New Hope Community Church is gearing up for its third annual 5K race to benefit Shepherd’s Gate, a shelter for women and children. Seen here from last year is a race-day participant, and organizers hope more will register this year to bolster the cause.

In an event going on three years, runners will once again gather at the starting line this September to raise funds for abused women and children.

Rob Fraser, New Hope Church Community Church pastor, organized a 5K race to benefit Shepherd’s Gate three years ago, and it has now become part of their annual calendar of events.

“I’ve been here for five years at the church, and we’re encouraged and coached to be in the community, serving the community,” said Fraser, who was a volunteer cross-country coach at a high school in Templeton, California. “We really see it as a part of what we’re called to do to be relevant to the community.”

Shepherd’s Gate helps women and children escape cycles of homelessness, addiction and abuse while they obtain counseling, rehabilitation and guidance on becoming independent.

“I think what people need to know about (Shepherd’s Gate), is that it’s not just a shelter,” said Fraser. “They do an amazing job where the women will stay there up to a year. They get life skills, care for their kids, they have people to help with job interviews, substance-abuse counseling or legal protection from someone who’s a danger to them.”

The race will take place Saturday, Sept. 22, with registration beginning at 7 a.m. at the organization’s residence on 605 Sycamore Ave., in Brentwood. The race will start at 8 a.m., and the course will begin at the Shepherd’s Gate Brentwood residence, loop around Heron Park to the trail alongside the orchard, down toward Sunset Road, around the dog park and back to the residence.

Stephanie Fischer, Shepherd’s Gate director of development and marketing, said the race is significant for the organization that relies solely on donations and fundraisers. The event brought over 200 runners last year, and organizers hope to raise that number each year to keep growing the fundraising effort. In years past, it has garnered over $10,000.

“It has a huge impact because it helps us serve these women,” Fischer said. “When the women come to us, they do not pay for anything, and we are not government-funded … This is an important event for us.”

Fischer noted the importance of raising not only funds but awareness to the condition of abuse within the community. And she wanted women who may feel out of options to know there is an answer.

“We want our community to know that there is a program for women in need of help,” she said. “They can visit the Shepherd’s Gate website (www.shepherdsgate.org) or call 925-308-7507 ... It’s on our heart for other people to come in and become aware.”

To register for the race or donate addition funds to the cause, visit www.shepherdsgate.org/5K.