The Franklin County Community Meals Program hosts the Hope Against Hunger auction each year to raise funds to support their work to alleviate hunger in Franklin County, but this month’s fundraiser will see a twist in tradition with a call to action from individual members of the community.
According to Franklin County Community Meals Program Executive Director Rachel Berggren, the group is encouraging individuals to fundraise themselves from participating businesses instead of asking organizers to ask businesses to sponsor the auction. This new version of the event is called the “Walk-to-Thank” fundraiser.
Over the years, Berggren said more than 250 local businesses have helped support the Franklin County Community Meal Program fundraising efforts and its mission to partner with the community to fight hunger. However, after a year where many businesses have been hit financially, the Meal Program seeks to recognize local businesses for their past support while offering them a reprieve from the usual donations.
“This year, we will not be asking companies to sponsor our annual auction,” Berggren said. “Instead, we ask you – individuals, colleagues, teams, community members, neighbors – to join us in this first walk to thank like this.”
Community members are encouraged to collect pledges based on the number of participating businesses they visit while walking during the month of July. The goal is to raise a total of $ 10,000.
For each store attendees visit as part of their county walk, Greenfield Savings Bank will donate $ 1 to their collection to further encourage community participation. Additionally, the bank has pledged to donate $ 500 on behalf of the first person to visit this year’s 108 participating businesses.
To walk, the Franklin County Community Meals Program encourages everyone to plan routes in one of the towns and villages where business partners are located, stop at one of the corporate sponsors, and thank them. for helping fight hunger in Franklin County. A map of supporting companies is available on the Walk-to-Thank event page. When stopping at each corporate sponsor, attendees are encouraged to take a selfie and share it on the meal program’s Facebook page, facebook.com/FCCMP, using the hashtag # WalkToThank2021.
To wrap up the fundraiser, participants can hand in their pledges on the Greenfield High School track on July 31 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Participants will be eligible for raffle tickets. The more selfies you take in companies, the more you can participate in a raffle.
To get involved, register online at runreg.com/10031, by calling 413-772-1033 or by emailing [email protected] Participants, who can walk individually or in groups, should set a personal fundraising goal.
While attendees can download and print a pledge sheet at fccmp.org/download/1212, they can also create a page to track their miles and fundraising progress after registering online. Physical copies are also available from the Franklin County Community Development Corporation at 324 Wells St. in Greenfield.
As an organization fighting hunger, Berggren said that the Franklin County Community Meals Program offers three meal sites, two pantries and a mobile food bank, serving more than 20,000 hot meals a year and distributing over 300,000 pounds of food in its pantries.
While organizers hadn’t already understood the value of this community network, Berggren said the pandemic has further reinforced that “we can’t do anything alone and we are stronger together.” She said new partnerships with the restaurant industry proved a “lifeline” when the Franklin County Community Meals Program was unable to access the kitchens at its meal sites and needed advice from industry professionals.
“Major grocery stores and mom-and-pop stores donated food and goods,” Berggren said. “Now, as the economy recovers, we want to encourage the community to see and recognize the heroes within the business community.”
More information on how to get involved in the Walk-to-Thank fundraiser is available at fccmp.org/walktothank.
Zack DeLuca can be contacted at [email protected] or