MESILLA – Every February, Cupid’s Chase 5K takes place in communities across the country to raise money for the local nonprofit chapters of Community Options.
Community Options seeks to raise funds and awareness to support housing and employment opportunities for people with disabilities. Cupid’s Chase celebrates the founding of Community Options in 1989.
This Saturday, the annual Cupid’s Chase 5K, which begins and ends at Mesilla Plaza, brought together community members from all walks of life. For many, attending the 5K has become a tradition to keep fit while raising money for a good cause.
Kiana and Robert Lopez are two of those contestants.
They met around 2012 and had their first date on Valentine’s Day that year. In 2018, Kiana competed in her first Cupid’s Chase and invited Robert to the 5K. He made sure it was a special day.
“I was given a t-shirt that said, ‘Will you marry me?’ So I coordinated with the organizers of Cupid’s Chase and in the end when they gave out the awards, I surprised them with it. It worked out,” he said of the engagement.
The Lopez couple, who are now married, attended their fourth Cupid’s Chase this year and brought family members to help the cause. They hope to come back year after year to create more memories and raise more money.
Cupid’s Chase organizers Mike Martinez and Naomi Olivas have been a part of 14 nationwide Cupid’s Chase events.
“This is our first year as directors – we actually organize the run from start to finish. We’ve always been a part of it; it’s something we’ve been doing nationwide for our agency (Community Options) since 2007,” said Olivas.
“We support people with developmental disabilities and provide residential and employment services to our individuals (in Las Cruces and El Paso). Also, community access and domestic services.” said Martinez.
The goal for the fundraiser was $15,000, and according to their website, at least $9,300 has been raised so far.
“All of that income goes back into our programs – so back into the homes, buying supplies for Christmas parties, furniture or whatever the individuals need. In a year we opened a computer lab where they could do resumes to try and get jobs and things like that. All the money, everything goes straight back to them,” added Olivas.
Donations will continue to be accepted on the Community Options website at https://allittakes.comop.org/event/cupids-chase-5k-las-cruces/e355945. Information on attending future Cupid Chase events is also available on this site.
Cielo Rodriguez can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.