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Keeping your eyes on the pies; First-ever Thanksgiving Pie Run to benefit Cambodia's Coconut Boys

Friday, November 16, 2012

Jamie Beckham, owner of Miss Jamie's bakery and restaurant, drizzles caramel over a slice of peanut butter pie at her business located at 1122 S. Clark St., in the Five Corners Business Complex. Beckham is helping sponsor the first-ever Thanksgiving Pie Run which is scheduled to take place Saturday. First- and second-place winners in each race will receive a homemade pie from her business.(Jason E. Silvers/Tribune)
Running and pie may not sound like two things that go together, but this weekend they will, and for a good cause.

Jamie Beckham, owner of Miss Jamie's bakery and restaurant, got together with Tim Woodring of the BC Runners, a group of local joggers, to plan the first-ever Thanksgiving Pie Run, which is set to begin at 7:30 a.m. Saturday near Beckham's business, located at 1122 S. Clark St.

Proceeds will benefit the Coconut Boys, a group of young boys in Cambodia whom Beckham met during a trip this summer to the Southeast Asian country.

"I went to Cambodia, and there were these boys who are learning to make cross necklaces from coconut shells," she said. "They really captured my heart."

Beckham said she also met a man in Cambodia who, along with his family, is "working hard to keep these boys off the streets, as sex trafficking is a huge issue in Cambodia."

"He's keeping them from becoming traffic or being traffickers themselves," Beckham said.

Money from the event will go toward the Cambodian man and the boys' cause.

"We've already brought in some donations," Beckham said.

Beckham also said she had "wanted to sponsor a fall run." Her husband, Bob, is an avid runner who plans to participate in the Pie Run, Jamie said.

While in Cambodia, Jamie said she visited four different cities and "met a lot of different youth who had been sex trafficked."

She said that she spent time with a 5-year-old girl and even children with special needs who were involved in the trade.

Jamie said she talked with the Coconut Boys on several different days, and the boys showed her how to make their necklaces. She even brought some of those necklaces back with her and plans on selling them at her business.

"And every penny goes back to the Coconut Boys," she said.

Woodring, an avid runner, said Beckham approached him over the summer and the two talked about ways to raise money for the Coconut Boys, eventually deciding to sponsor a race in the fall.

"We had been talking about ways to raise funds for a great cause," he said. "I run a lot and have done a number of races, so I knew what to do."

Woodring said he recently watched a film on the topic of sex trafficking and learned more about the dangers of the illegal practice.

"It's a very worthwhile cause; we're certainly happy to put this together," he said. "It will make a difference in these boys' lives, that's for sure."

Woodring said the BC Runners is a "loosely-formed group of local runners that run regularly" and are associated with the fundraiser.

Cost to participate is $30 for the 10K race and $25 for the 5K event.

The first- and second-place winners in each contest will receive a homemade pie from Miss Jamie's. All pre-registered entrants will receive a long-sleeve race T-shirt.

There will also be a 2K walk offered for fun and the cost is $20.

Jamie said the winners of the races will get to choose which kind of pie they prefer from four different kinds of pie that will be offered, although she said she's not sure what types she will make.

About 30 participants have signed up for the event so far.

"We hope to continue it every year and find a different organization every year," Jamie said.

Entry forms for the contests are available at Miss Jamie's.

"We also need cheerleaders for the event," she said. "We want it to be a fun event."

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