All over the Church of God, ordinary people are changing the lives of children by participating in Orphan Run 4 Hope.

The premise is simple. A church or state hosts a 5K run/walk event. Rather than taking an offering or pledges, participants secure sponsorships through relationships they already have—family, friends, neighbors, or coworkers. 

Many people do not consider themselves to be runners, but according to director Mark Swank that is not a deterrent.

“Well over 80% are not runners,” Swank said. “They do it for the cause.”

Money raised from Orphan Run 4 Hope events is sent to orphanages around the globe. Many of them are in countries so poor that $20 will feed a child for a month.

The runs began four years ago and have already raised over $600,000.

A dozen states so far have hosted one-day events where churches and members can come together to run and raise money. This year, Pennsylvania raised over $18,000 in their races. 

Local churches may also host orphan runs. Stewart Road Church of God in Michigan has raised over $50,000 since they began several years ago.

“Any size church can participate and be successful,” Swank said.

An exciting new venture for Orphan Run 4 Hope this year will be connecting with youth camps across the country. Cabins will compete against each other to see who can raise the most money. Swank said that the pilot program in Tennessee last year raised $8,000. Twenty camps are participating this year.

Additionally, the first international orphan run will be conducted June 1 in Scotland.

If you or your church would like to participate in Orphan Run 4 Hope, visit 

“You can make a difference in the life of an orphaned child,” Swank said.