5k Run Supports Congolese Children

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. — Helping children a world away, a local charity raises money for a war-torn African nation.

At the Springfield Faith Center, the City of Refuge International provides help for hundreds of kids in the Congo, giving them food, medicine and shelter

Richard Kitumba, the president of City of Refuge, was born and raised in the central African country of the Congo, not leaving until he was 22 years old. Kitumba and his family were victimized by the long-running civil war, which has killed millions of people and left untold numbers of orphaned kids.

Now based in Springfield, Kitumba raises money locally to send back to his homeland where even a single cow can feed a village for months. The group also provides agricultural training, livestock development, mosquito netting and even blankets.

City of Refuge has placed hundreds of Congolese children into foster homes, an accomplishment that he says fills him with joy.

“Oh, my gosh, it really, really brings a lot of joy to my heart because I was one of those kids growing up there with no food, no opportunity, and just the fact that we are here in the U.S., it’s a huge, huge blessing and opportunity,” Kitumba said.

Kitumba travels to the Congo every few years, showing board members the tangible results of their fundraising efforts. But he says the travel must be timed perfectly to avoid getting caught in the ongoing violence.

Kitumba says hundreds of people from the Eugene and Springfield areas contribute to City of Refuge, which raises tens of thousands of dollars each and every year.

The City of Refuge is holding a 5k Congo Kids Run on Sunday at the Dorris Ranch, 205 Dorris St.

For more information or to register, click here.

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