Wednesday | December 07, 2016
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Hilo 5K to benefit African children

<p>Courtesy photo</p><p>The Divine Mercy Family Foundation, a charity dedicated to saving the lives of teenage pregnant girls, orphaned and abandoned children in Nigeria, West Africa, invites the community to a benefit run/walk and day of fun on Saturday at the Hilo Bayfront.</p>

The Divine Mercy Family Foundation, a charity dedicated to saving the lives of teenage pregnant girls, orphaned and abandoned children in Nigeria, West Africa, will hold a 5K walk/run on Saturday, Aug. 31, at Hilo Bayfront. Activities will begin at 7 a.m.

“Our mission is to provide a nuturing environment and spare children the scourge of homelessness, hunger and depression, and to provide safe prenatal medical care for girls ostracized or victimized by circumstances,” explained Francisca Emefiene Pinkney of Hilo, president and co-founder of the Divine Mercy Family Foundation.

There will be family entertainment, including the Hawaii County Band, Issamaites and others. African and other cultural food will be available.

“The grand finale of the benefit will be on Sunday, Sept. 1, at a benefit dinner and fashion show at Nani Mau Gardens showcasing Focus Hawaii International Models,” said Pinkney. Tickets for the benefit dinner are on sale at Basically Books in downtown Hilo. Please visit

The foundation has partnered with E2 Wounded Warrior Innovative Initiatives to organize the first Africa Hawaii World Festival on the bayfront near Kamehameha Canoe Club. The day’s events will begin with a 5K run/walk and include a variety of performances by local musicians and entertainers.

A featured event of the day will be the “100-yard Run in Her Boots Fashion Dash.” In this event, women and girls divided into age categories will compete wearing combat boots or high heels. The winners of each category will be mentored by experienced fashion models and participate in a fashion show the following day. Additionally, there will be displays of African and Hawaiian crafts, along with a variety of local vendors showcasing their wares. It is shaping up to be a day of fun and entertainment for the whole family.

“We are currently soliciting craft vendors for this event. Contributions will go to support major projects of the two organizations,” explained Pinkney.

The Divine Mercy Family Foundation is in the process of building a home for orphaned children and pregnant teens. Funds will also be used to sponsor pregnant teens in rural Nigerian villages and cover expenses related to prenatal care and safe delivery. Pinkney served as a nurse-midwife in Nigeria before coming to the United States, where she is a Registered Nurse at Hilo Medical Center.

E2 Wounded Warrior Innovative Initiatives will utilize funds to complete the construction of a wounded warrior modeling boot camp to serve the unique rehabilitative and residential needs of young wounded veterans returning home from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Sue Bozgoz, president of E2 Wounded Warrior Innovative Initiatives, is a retired Army Lieutenant Colonel and an Iraq War veteran.

Tax-deductible donations can be made on the foundation website,, and by mail to Divine Mercy Family Foundation, 1945 Keo St., Hilo, HI 96720.


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