To my “We Gather Together 5K” friends…
What do the following have in common: a delicious helping of homemade apple pie…Larry Bird’s illustrious Boston Celtic’s basketball career…(for those of sufficient age) M.A.S.H….summer vacation…and the We Gather Together 5K? The answer? They are all great things that expire. Yes, after 14 sensational campaigns as the Owner and Director of “We Gather”, I sadly announce the end of this ever-popular Thanksgiving Day event. I recently decided that it was time to close the book on what was a fantastic run of races for an opportunity for me and my wife Rose to explore other personal endeavors. “We Gather” was a community event designed to help those needing assistance in making ends meet during difficult times. Each year since 2001, the Town of Sandwich has played host to hundreds of fitness enthusiasts through “We Gather”, a healthy calorie-burning jaunt of 3.1 miles along the quaint roadways of Sandwich conducted to raise thousands of groceries to be divided between the Sandwich Food Pantry and various sister facilities in towns on the upper-Cape and south shore.
Through the years, “We Gather” fast became a holiday tradition for many…begin Thanksgiving with an invigorating morning run or walk throughout Historic Sandwich Village…continue with the local high school football game…conclude with a bountiful Thanksgiving feast with family and friends. Annually since the inaugural 2001 contest, the 5K attracted well over 1,000 runners and walkers and raised an estimated 35,000 groceries. In recent years, yearly 5K enrollment eclipsed the 2,000 mark! The uniqueness of “We Gather” was in its participant entry requirement…a small entry fee plus a bag containing a minimum of 10 non-opened, non-perishable packaged grocery items. The groceries were turned over to participating food pantries. “We Gather” also included a ‘Kidz Dash’ for children under the age of 10, a short (approximately) entry fee-free 100-yard fun run conducted just prior to the start of the 5K.
“We Gather” came to life in January of 2001 both in concept and in title (from a church song I used to sing around Thanksgiving time as a young lad) as a dedication to my now late parents, Dottie and Dick Havens of Forestdale, who donated annually to the Sandwich Food Pantry. They certainly would be mighty proud of the numerous contributions made by our fantastic sponsors, dedicated volunteers, the community and the assembled 5K runners and walkers throughout the period. On Mom’s and Dad’s behalf, to you I extend a hearty
Although the We Gather Together 5K Run & Walk will not be staged this coming Thanksgiving, those who wish to maintain the giving spirit of “We Gather” are welcome to continue contributing to the Sandwich Food Pantry, which has been our anchor beneficiary from the outset. Contributions may be made payable to the “Sandwich Food Pantry” and mailed to P.O. Box 1824; Sandwich, MA 02563.
Thank you again and God Bless.
Rich & Rose