Photos of the Roca Monster Dash
Children pose in front of Roca’s Pumpkin during Monster Dash in Roca, on Saturday, Sept. 26. 

Participants register for fun run, with donations going to help victims of child abuse

In its 13th year, the Child Advocacy Center teamed up with Roca Berry Farms to put on “The Monster Dash,” a 5k and 1 mile fun run Oct. 26 for kids and supporters of the center to participate in Halloween activities, while raising funds and awareness for the organization.

“We were worried all year about whether or not we were going to be able to have this event in person,” said Abby Worster, the planning coordinator of Monster Dash.

There were fewer participants this year, with 140 runners registered instead of the expected 200, but businesses were still wiliing to sponsor the event.

“It was apparent almost immediately that we would see a pretty sharp decrease in the amount of people that would be at the event, which did affect the overall revenue,” Worster said. “We all know that businesses have been affected by COVID, and we rely heavily on corporate sponsorships for this event to happen.”

Roca Berry Farms is known for hosting many philanthropic events in the Nebraska area.

“Roca Berry Farm has always hosted the Monster Dash,” Worster said. “We are so grateful to the Schaefers’ (farm owners) for not only hosting us but for providing donuts to our attendees and entry to the farm that day.”

After the run, participants were invited to Roca Berry Farms and a Halloween costume contest.

One of the biggest differences to the Monster Dash this year than previous years was the uncertainty.

“We all live in a state of fear right now because of COVID-19,” Worster said. “It’s a little more difficult to connect with people when there is so much fear and restriction.

There were many precautions put in place to ensure the safety of the volunteers and attendees.

“Our planning committee wasn’t able to see each other in person to plan this year as we have in the past,” Worster said. “We had to make sure that we had volunteers and attendees screen themselves for symptoms before the event, along with people standing far apart and wearing masks until the race began.”

Organizers donated the registration funds to the Child Advocacy Center.

“Our goals are to reduce trauma, seek justice, and foster hope and healing for children and their non-offending caregivers,” Worster said.