14th Annual Independence 5K Run and Walk, Roll & Stroll
2000 Walkers and Runners and 200 Volunteers Help Raise $200k
Franklin, MA – On Sunday May 17th, 2015, Fox 25 Morning News anchor Gene Lavanchy hosted the 14th Annual HMEA Independence 5K Walk Run Roll & Stroll at EMC, 50 Constitution Blvd, in the Franklin Industrial Park. Funds raised at this one day family fun-filled fundraiser support nearly 4,000 children and adults ages 1 to 101 with disabilities such as Autism, Down syndrome, Cerebral palsy and other intellectual and physical challenges in 110 Massachusetts communities.
Tremendous support came from the all-volunteer committee who worked tirelessly since January to make the event a resounding success. In addition, talented volunteers came from Home Depot Bellingham, Sodexo Foods at Dean College, King Philip High School Student Council, King Philip High School KP Cares, Out of Control All Stars Cheerleading Team, EMC, Franklin High School, and HMEA’s Board of Directors. Many HMEA staff, families and individuals kept the Kids Corner and activity tents vibrant with games, interactive experiences, and referral information. Tokens were given to the appreciative participants. Toward the cause, these 271 volunteers tallied up 1262 volunteer hours equaling a value of $31,482. Dressed in bright fluorescent orange volunteer shirts generously donated by EMC, their hard work was most visible and appreciated.
Distinguishing this event apart from many others, is the thousands of dollars in items such as raffle prizes, food, water, and equipment plus nearly $80,000 in sponsorships generously contributed by business leaders: Cardi’s Furniture, Garelick Farms, DCU for Kids, Rockland Trust Charitable Foundation, Starkweather & Shepley, EMC, WB Mason, Walmart, Fidelity Bank, Bowditch & Dewey, Autobahn East, ACT Leasing, Law Office of Roche & Roche, AAA of Southern New England, Medway Oil and Propane, Fox 25 News, Sodexo Foods, CBIZ Tofias, and Spencer Bank, among others.
EMC’s Disability Employee Resource Group, spearheaded by President Kristine Biagotti, had a booth at the event. Adjacent to them, EMC’s Latino Leadership Interest Team had four members on the Committee and several who participated by walking and running at the event.
The event was a family oriented fun day with many kids’ activities and fun games. The festivities included free food at a superb giant cookout, parking, tee shirts and entertainment. A live performance was given by Studio Two – a Beatles Tribute Band. Other highlights included a dog obedience show from Sit Means Sit by GoTeam21.org and an appearance by Bubble Music Man. Face painting, raffles, caricature artists, and raffle prizes were big favorites. Special guests included mascots Slyde from the New England Revolution, Cardi Bros NiRoPe, Wally the Green Giant, Nibbles Woodaway, and Snoopy. In addition, the Pawtuxet Rangers participated in the opening ceremonies by shooting a musket to mark the official start of both the race and the walk.
A special Dreams Come True raffle was held with over 75 prizes including a Bose® Wave® SoundTouch® Music System, 2 Red Sox Tickets to the Twins vs. Sox game on June 2nd, an RCI time share anywhere in the world, two Spirit Airlines tickets, four complimentary 1-day Park Hopper passes to Disney Worlds Theme Parks, two $500 Cardi Furniture gift certificates and so many more.
Proceeds from the event are used for direct programs like occupational and physical therapy equipment, home adaptations, and community outings. They also support new business ventures providing valuable employment experience such as our landscaping services and our new Helping Hands Florist shop. Funds are also used for resources to sustain our horticultural program, as well as for adaptive equipment or eyeglasses not otherwise covered by Medicare or Medicaid.
HMEA is a non-profit agency whose 700 dedicated, caring and competent staff support nearly 4,000 children and adults with developmental disabilities and their families in 110 communities in central and southeastern MA. Headquartered in Franklin, this organization provides a wide variety of services including educational, vocational, and residential supports. For more information please call 508-298-1105.