FRAMINGHAM – The United Way of Tri-County announced today, June 26, they are lacing up their virtual running shoes.
The non-profit will hold their inaugural Six Feet Away Virtual 5K from July 12 through July 18, with proceeds benefitting the United Way’s COVID-19 Community Response Fund.
Virtual events are taking over where in-person runs are now prohibited due to health and safety concerns as well as group size restrictions.
The agency postponed their Corporate 5K in May and their upcoming golf
tournament in July and is now waiting to learn what the landscape looks like for their fall and winter 5K fundraisers.
These events are critical to continuing their community program operations.
The $15 Virtual 5K registration fee will directly support three United Way of Tri-County food pantries and two hot meal programs that continue to serve thousands of clients each week, many who say they have never
applied for assistance before.
Money raised will also help to keep the agency’s emotional support, mental
health, suicide prevention hotline Call2Talk up and running.
“We have a very generous running community in our region who have continually supported our 5K events,” said Paul Mina, President & CEO at the United Way of Tri-County.
“After realizing we needed to postpone our 5K fundraisers indefinitely, it seemed like a virtual 5K was a great option. Runners like to run, so we are hoping they’ll make their miles count and register for our event. So many individuals and families in our region still need their help,” said Mina.
While many professionals are heading back to the office or continue working from home, retail, restaurant, and hospitality workers are still reeling from furloughs and lay-offs.
Countless workers who were originally furloughed are learning their jobs will not be coming back.
Families are turning to food pantries to help stretch their shrinking budgets to have enough for rent, utility, transportation, healthcare, and food costs, and Call2Talk call takers are answering the most calls since opening 6 ½ years ago.
Framingham currently has the highest unemployment rate in MetroWest according to data on the Pioneer Institute Public Policy Research website. As of June 13, the most recent data posted, unemployment in
Framingham’s 01702 neighborhoods was 14.8% and 12.1% in 01701 neighborhoods.
Many nearby cities and towns have increasing unemployment as well, including Natick, Ashland and Holliston that are all hovering
Before the COVID-19 outbreak, Framingham’s unemployment rate in the 01702 zip code was just 2.6%.
In addition to registering as a runner or walker, there is also an option to purchase a custom t-shirt.
Participants can make an additional donation or choose to fundraise and help even more.
Runners will upload race times using one of the apps listed on the registration page, and while no prizes will be awarded for fastest times, they will be happy to know their generosity is helping individuals, families,
children, and seniors in the community stay healthy and thrive.
For more information about the Six Feet Away Virtual 5K, the United Way of Tri-County, the United Way’s food security programs, or to make a donation, visit their website at www.uwotc.org/virtual5k