Helping Your Natick Neighbors with Virtual 5KSep 29, 2020 12:10PM ● By Chuck Tashjian
Everywhere you look, events have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and the Natick Service Council’s annual dinner and auction is no different.
But instead of letting that get them down, they simply adjusted their plans. Because of that, this year the NSC will hold a virtual 5K run/1-mile walk in its place.
“With COVID, we had to make a decision on how to hold a fundraising event that was safe and also engaging. We chose a race because whole families can do it together and the race is over a two-week period, so participants can complete it when they have time,” said Sonia Shah, Director of Development and Outreach at NSC.
Shah said although their physical location is closed because of the pandemic, they are still providing essential services to clients.
“All funds raised will go to general operating support of Natick Service Council. Although our building is closed, we are still providing essential services including the Heart Healthy Food Pantry, Financial Assistance and Case Management,” she said.
In good times, the support is needed, so in times of a pandemic, the need is even more intense.
“Support for NSC is critically important during these unprecedented times. The need of the local community is increasing, while the in-kind and volunteer support has been forced to decrease. Food donations are just one example of the struggles we are currently facing,” said Shah. she said normally, food donations make up a large part of the food distributed to its clients.
“Typically, each month NSC received over 17,000 pounds of donated food via, individuals, community food drives and food rescue partners (i.e., Lovin’ Spoonfuls & local grocery stores) and purchased almost 3,000 pounds of food.
“Since NSC is currently unable to accept food donations from individual and community food drives, NSC is only receiving about 2,600 pounds of donated food from our food rescue partners each month. To ensure our clients’ most basic needs are continuing to be met by the Food Pantry and to make up for the lost donations, NSC is spending 156% more each month on food than before the pandemic. This is a huge unanticipated expense but is critical to ensuring that there will be no disruption in Food Pantry services,” Shah explained.
Participants will have two weeks to run the 5K or walk the 1-mile. They can choose when they want to complete either race—between Oct. 11 and 25—and where. If you prefer walking on a treadmill, go for it! Times will be accepted on the honor code.
Dan Shea, executive director of the Natick Service Council, said he knows the community will come through for its neighbors
“Our motto is ‘Neighbors Helping Neighbors’ and in times of need, the Natick community has shown time and time again their unwavering support for NSC. Having a community building event provides us a chance to connect with our community while also raising awareness and support of NSC,” said Shea.
Visit natickservicecouncil.org for more information.