Group of runner at a previous Foster 5K.

Annual 5K Run Benefiting Local Foster Children Goes Virtual

Los Altos Town Crier | August 19, 2020
By: Town Crier Staff Report

Foster5K – formerly the Flower Run – is going virtual Sept. 13 for its fourth annual benefit. Originally scheduled April 26 at Sunnyvale Baylands Park, the Foster5K was postponed due to COVID-19-related shelter-in-place orders issued by Santa Clara County.

Hosted by residents from across the county, including Los Altos, Foster5K was launched to raise awareness and funds for Child Advocates of Silicon Valley, an independent nonprofit organization that serves foster children.

Foster5K co-chairwoman and Child Advocates board member Debbie Crouse said this year’s goal was originally to surpass 350 participants. Now they hope to get 200 signups.

“We are doing everything we can to promote the 5K,” said Crouse, a Los Altos resident and co-founder of the Flower Run. “The impact of sheltering in place has been even more dramatic for children in foster care. They’ve already been through personal trauma and now have the stress of this pandemic. Something as simple as having a laptop for remote school is a huge challenge.”

The last Foster5K attracted more than 250 participants and raised more than $16,000. The event began four years ago in Los Altos but moved to Sunnyvale Baylands Park in 2018 to accommodate its growth.

Despite having closed its store this spring, A Runner’s Mind continues to be an event partner. The Los Altos store will host packet pickup at 378 Main St., and plans to donate 15% of all sales Sept. 12 to Child Advocates. The retailer donated more than $800 last year.

“A Runner’s Mind is excited to partner with the Foster5K again this year,” said Eileen Urtz, general manager of A Runner’s Mind. “Events like this inspire people to get outside and move while also raising awareness and funds for a great cause. Something we all need more than ever.”


With the uncertainty surrounding large gatherings, the Foster5K committee thought it best to pivot to a virtual event.

“We are encouraging family and socially distanced friend groups to sign up, using this as a time to support foster children while getting a much-needed shot of good spirits and camaraderie,” said event co-chairwoman Joy Erf.

Organizers encourage walkers and runners to complete their 5K Sept. 13 by running or walking wherever they want. The $40 entry fee includes a Foster5K shirt (must register by Aug. 29), goodie bags, pre-run yoga in the morning and a Zoom Finish Party 4 p.m. Sept. 13.

“We’re very proud of our Finish Party,” Erf said. “We had big plans for live music, refreshments and booths. The team is keeping the spirit with the Zoom Finish Party featuring our usual raffle, a photo contest and prizes for the largest team to check in. We will also continue to encourage participants to dress festively and post photos.”

Event sponsors include: BMC, Patelco Credit Union’s Sunnyvale branch, the Nuzzo Real Estate Team, A Runner’s Mind, Dish Dash Middle Eastern Cuisine, Elva Acevedo Real Estate and Andy Wong Real Estate.

“I am extremely overjoyed by the support Foster5K receives from our sponsors,” Crouse said. “Their financial support allows the committee members and I to do what we love – to share the story of foster children widely – and they get to give back to the community through their passion for helping others.”

“We are thrilled that the community continues to show up for our foster children by participating in Foster5K,” said Frederick J. Ferrer, CEO of Child Advocates of Silicon Valley. “The children we serve are some of the most vulnerable in our community. The support we receive from this race helps us provide them with the support and resources needed to thrive, especially during this pandemic.”

In fiscal year 2019, Child Advocates served 964 foster children through its Court Appointed Special Advocate program, which recruits, trains and supports community members who are appointed with a court order by a judge to advocate for the best interests of a child in foster care.

The majority of the funds raised to support the efforts are through donations.

To sign up for Foster5K, donate or become a sponsor, visit

For more information on Child Advocates, visit

View this article in Los Altos Town Crier.