Ready, set, GO!

The Petal Children’s Task Force is gearing up for the fifth annual Lighthouse Dash 5K.

A crowd turns out for the race each year to support the Task Force, and in turn, support the city of Petal. Petal Children’s Task Force is hosting its annual race on April 15 at the Petal Civic Center. The race was originally scheduled for Feb. 11, but was changed following the tornado.

More than 200 runners/walkers participated last year, and race director DeeDee Lowery hopes that number increases this time.

“It’s because (the community) knows the cause and what the Task Force does, so they come out to help these children and our city,” Lowery has said of the event.

As the emergency food bank for the people of Petal, the Task Force is able to provide food assistance to residents whether or not their children attend school in the Petal School District. They work with local churches, social services, law enforcement, judicial services, Petal schools and civic clubs so that they can provide assistance where needed.

The Task Force has raised a little more than $50,000 during the last three years with the 5K fundraiser alone. This enables them to purchase food and has allowed them to greatly expand their budget to purchase food as necessary, which enables them to help more people each year.

“We wouldn’t be able to raise this much money without support from local businesses,” Lowery has said.

While the Task Force receives contributions from churches and individuals throughout the year, this is their primary source of income and only fundraiser.

Petal Children’s Task Force helped more than 2,000 families last year with their food boxes.

The number of racers increases each year.

Race day registration begins at 7 a.m. Preregistration is $20. Registration will cost $25 the week before the race and $30 on race day. Pine Belt Pacer member registration is $17.

The Task Force will have several door prizes, including cash and a one-week stay at Ramon's Village in Belize. Breakfast will be provided by Waffle House. Online registration is available at raceroster or

Registration can be mailed to the Task Force at 314 South George Street in Petal with attention to Lowery. 

 Awards will be presented to the Overall, Master and Grandmaster finishers in both male and female categories.

Awards will also be given for the top three male and female finishers in each age group.

Walk awards will be presented to the top three overall male and female and the oldest and youngest walker. No running will be allowed in the walking event.

For more information contact the Petal Children’s Task Force (601)255-5578.