Court Appointed Special Advocates of South Central Kentucky is launching a new fundraising and recognition effort called Essentially Superheroes in lieu of its annual Superhero 5K race.

CASA supports volunteers who advocate for abused and neglected children, and it is accepting nominations to recognize essential workers in the health care field, postal service, nonprofit sector and other volunteers, according to a news release.

Executive Director Jana Sublett said the 5K event was converted because of concerns with social distancing amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We felt it was important to stay with the superhero theme, as we feel like our CASA volunteers are true superheroes,” she said. “Essential workers are also true superheroes who need and deserve to be recognized.”

A family-friendly scavenger hunt Oct. 24 will cap off the event. In the preceding two weeks, nominees will have their photos and names displayed in regional parks, on social media and in newspapers, according to the news release.

CASA has 103 volunteers who advocated for 258 abused or neglected children during the past year, and although 65 children are on a waiting list, Sublett said volunteers have still been trained even during quarantine.

Company donations of $2,500, $1,000 and $500 are still needed, according to the release. Each tier comes with benefits to the company. Individuals can also make a $35 donation. More information about how to get involved is at www.essentiallysuperheroes.com or by calling 270-782-5353. The deadline to submit nominations is Sept. 18.

“This is a great way to show your appreciation,” said Joshua Heffinger, the event’s co-chair. “You get to recognize someone and also make a donation to a great nonprofit that is going to help advocate for children that are at an even greater risk during this time.”

“We want to stress that this is for anyone who you feel has played an essential role during COVID-19 – delivery drivers, medical staff, police, grocery clerks, fast-food workers, etc.,” Sublett said.

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