Lighthouse Dash to benefit Petal Children's Task Force

Last year’s Lighthouse Dash raised $29,000 for the food bank at Petal Children’s Task Force, an organization which serves about 457 families in Petal with food, school uniforms and Christmas gifts.

Officials are hoping for an even better result for the seventh annual Lighthouse Dash, which will be held Feb. 9 beginning at Petal Civic Center on South Main Street. All proceeds from the event will go toward to the task force’s food bank and will be used to put together food boxes for the community.

“Every year, it’s been great,” task force director Demaris Lee said. “This year we’re striving to do more because (the cost of food) has gone up, so we really are needing for money, because it’s around $75 to make one box of food.

“So you can imagine going through 382 regular boxes that we gave out (last year), and then we gave out 260 at Christmas.”

Participants in the Lighthouse Dash can choose between a 2-mile walk or a 5K run, each with a registration fee of $30 or $20 for Pine Belt Pacer members. Participants will begin at Hinton Park behind the civic center and continue down blocked-off city streets, with the runners and walkers eventually veering to separate courses.

Pre-registration is available at the task center office on South George Street in Petal or online at or Participants also can register at the civic center at 7 a.m. on race day, and all registrants will receive a T-shirt. Race bags, which will include race number bibs and Hardee’s gift cards, will be available before the day of the event at the civic center.

The 5K run and 2-mile walk will both begin at 8 a.m.

Participants will be treated to waffles from Waffle House, refreshments from Coca-Cola, fruit from Corner Market, and coffee from event sponsor Grand Central Outfitters.

Awards for the 5K run will be presented for Overall, Master and Grandmaster finishers in both male and female categories, and group awards will be given to the top three male and female finishers in 13 different age groups.

Walk awards will be presented to the top three overall male and female, as well as to the oldest and youngest walker. Running is not allowed in the walking event.

“We also have wonderful door prizes,” Lee said. “The big door prize is a week at Ramon’s Village in Belize.

“And we also have tools, massages, food giveaways and everything. So we have a lot of nice door prizes.”

The Petal Children’s Task Force was founded in 1989 by Lee and and Jesse Rowell, and got its start feeding and providing Christmas for two families. Now in its 29th year, the organization serves approximately 1,187 people in the Friendly City.