On Saturday, March 16, the Bordentown Education Foundation is set to hold the 11th Annual St. Patrick’s Day 5K.

The race was first set up in 2002 by Tony Dilemme, a Board of Education member at the time, and was intended as a way to create income for the public schools in Bordentown as monetary constraints became more severe.

“We were all frustrated with the way school taxes just continued to go up and we were getting less and less money,” Joann Dansbury, the primary organizer of the race, said. “We were trying to think of ways to make money without having the taxpayer pay it for us.”

While Dansbury said her group could use more volunteers to help out with the event, the dedicated few that make the race happen every year do so because of the importance it has on the community.

“We hit a thousand last year,” Dansbury said. “You look up over the crowd and there are all these people in the middle of Bordentown City. It’s just awesome. So even if we wanted to not do this, because we’re down to about 10 volunteers, we really can’t do that. It’s a community event, and people look forward to it. People sometimes stay in the city for the rest of the day and go to restaurants and stores. The merchants support us by giving us gift certificates to give to the winners. The food service people at school cut some fruit for us and put it all in great big bins. Everybody chips in.”

Dansbury said that the Bordentown Education Foundation, which starts planning for the race six months ahead of time, relies on the money raised at the event in order to give grants to Bordentown public schools and scholarships to students in the area.

This year, the education foundation gave the school $16,000 to buy cameras and iPads and things that they needed for the new Department of Education observations, and also spent about $3,500 in scholarships at the end of the year, one of which was at Burlington County College.

“In the past what we’ve done is have teachers write up grants, but teachers are so busy with these new Department of Ed rules, they don’t have time to do more paperwork,” she said. “We’re playing around with the idea of just giving a full amount to one school per year.”

The race is set to begin at Clara Barton Elementary School, with the 5K starting at 9 a.m. and the Family Fun Walk starting at 10 a.m. The surrounding roads will be blocked off for parking, and refreshments, including coffee and doughnuts, will be served at the event.

For more information, go online to bordentown.k12.nj.us, and then click on the image of the shamrock with Joann Dansbury’s name.

—Ryan S. Murphy