While running a 50-mile trail race in Michigan, Erickson struck up a conversation with a fellow runner who told Erickson he raised 3,000 food items from supporters prior to the race. The notion piqued Erickson's interest; she decided then and there she would collect 3,001 food items and then run 50 miles with her donor’s names scrawled on her shirt.
She not only ran the 50 miles, but she also blew her goal out of the water, collecting 4,157 food items.
Now, Erickson wants to do it again—only bigger, better, longer and colder. This year, Erickson said she plans on running 51 miles and hopes to raise more food than last year.
“People might be thinking, 'Oh, we've seen her do 50 before, we know she can do that.' Well, I'm doing 51 just to go a bit farther, and I'm doing it in March, when it's colder. So maybe that will get people more interested.”
Erickson said that she chose to do her food collection in February and her run in March because that is the time of year food pantries and food banks most need the help.
“The holidays are over and they really need the food,” she said. “I figured that was the best time of year to do it. So, I'm going to collect all of February and then run the first weekend in March.”
The Raiders organization has begun spreading the word about Erickson's efforts, in hopes of stirring up interest and inspiring people to help out when the time comes.
"This is a word of mouth campaign," wrote her husband Scott in a post shared on the Raiders Facebook page. "Pam’s run is not sanctioned or sponsored. She just wants to help, make a difference, and teach our kids that one person can make a difference."
Also, Erickson said that this year will be the first that there will be a traveling can trophy that will go to the person or group that raises the most food items. She said the trophy came from her friends following her first effort last year.
“That's one of the twists this year, the trophy,” she said. “It's my hope that it will get more people involved, girl scouts, schools, whoever. It's going to be fun.”
Erickson said that she will once again be raising food items for Together We Cope, but that others can donate to any organization.
Keep up with Erickson's efforts and her run with Patch as the run and collection effort closes in.