Holiday Hustle raises money for charity


Cassie Buchman

Runners and walkers start on the Holiday Hustle Race Saturday morning in front of Old Main.

Cassie Buchman, Administration Editor

People in Christmas sweaters, socks, and even snowmen costumes could be seen all around Old Main as they waited to run Saturday morning at the 4th Annual EIU Holiday Hustle.

The cold weather and foggy morning did not stop a large crowd from coming, although runners were told to be aware and look around while running to be safe.

Proceeds from the race were given to One Stop Community Christmas, an organizations that helps families around Christmas time by providing them with toys, food, blankets, pajamas, household items, cleaning supplies, socks and underwear, puzzles, and games if they are not able to provide their own families.

$3,250 was raised for One Stop Community Christmas this year.

This year’s Holiday Hustle was the last one for the Eastern’s Presidential Scholars who started it four years ago, as they are graduating.

Next year, it will be taken over by a new group of scholars.

Andrew Donsbach, a senior marketing major and one of the people in charge of the Holiday Hustle said they started the run because they wanted to help Charleston.

“Basically, we’re EIU students, and we call Charleston home nine months of the year,” Donsbach said. “We wanted to give back to the community.”

Donsbach said every year, the new presidential scholars have a class together, and the current organizers of the Holiday Hustle asked if anyone would want to step up for the following years.

Janie Howse, a senior mathematics major with a teaching certification and another Presidential Scholar, said they all met because they were Eastern Presidential scholars.

“Its started out as a school project, but grew to more,” Howse said.

Donsbach said it was sad that their time planning the Holiday Hustle has come to an end.

“It’s been a big part of our lives,” Donsbach said. “Now that it’s our fourth year, we’ve got it down to a science.”

Howse said planning the event took a lot of work and time, and they spent some of that time making connections at Eastern and in Charleston.

“We’ve been trying different things, if they worked we’d use them, if they didn’t we would stop them,” Howse said.

Donsbach said they would meet every week to organize and grew close, even exchanging inside jokes with each other.

Last year, the 125 people participated in the Holiday Hustle who raised $3,000.

$11,000 has been raised over the last four years.

“We promoted it in the community with the web, Facebook, word of mouth was big,” Donsbach said. “Over the last four years, we’ve gained a following. We see a lot of the same people every year.”

Howse said she could remember the first year they planned and had the Holiday Hustle.

“When we saw the gun go off, it was rewarding for us all,” Howse said. “We started this from the ground up.”

The other presidential scholars who participated in planning and having the Holiday Hustle were Hannah Osborne, a senior English major, Mackenzie Ward, a senior communication disorders and sciences major, Ben Feltes, a senior finance major, Sydney Scamihorn, a senior communication disorder and sciences major, and law student Scott Harrell.

The first person who completed the race was Colin Lee, a Champaign resident.

Lee said he found the race because he had been looking to run a 5k.

“It was a nice course,” Lee said. “There were a lot of volunteers, and a lot of support. I didn’t really notice the fog.”

Some of the people running in the race wore festive costumes, such as the family of Jessica Howse, from Assumption Illinois, who were dressed as snowmen, complete with a fake-carrot nose.

“We’re just messing around, having fun,” Howse said. “It’s a family thing.”

Howse said the first year, they went in ugly Christmas sweaters, but then got more serious about their costumes.

The second year, they went in neon glasses and colorful clothes, and for their third year, they dressed as reindeer.

Cassie Buchman can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]