- Written by Lisa Middents, Development Manager
- Published: 12 January 2017
Do you remember Senior Bingo at the Franklin County Fair in the 1980s? Were any of your elder relatives among those who showed up at the Greenfield Fairgrounds at 7:30 a.m. in order to get a good seat before bingo started at 10 a.m.? Did the same relatives cut the rug at one of the annual “Senior Proms” in the 1990s?
Those were just some of the creative ways our community came together to raise enough money so that every elder who needed Meals on Wheels could get them. Then along came the first “Walk for Meals on Wheels” 25 years ago. The Turners Falls High School was the first location, and total funds raised came in just below the $3,000 mark. After Turners Falls High School got their brand-new bright blue track (that still looks terrific today!), Franklin County Technical School generously offered their track for the annual Walk starting in the early 2000s.
When the Walk turned 15 in 2007, Pamela Kelley took the fundraising reigns at the nonprofit agency (now LifePath) and made it her mission to increase the Walk’s capacity. Under Pam’s direction, with help from several major challenge grants from Greenfield Savings Bank, the Walk went from 120 walkers raising $27,000 in 2007 to 397 walkers raising $92,000 when the Walk turned 20 in 2012.
In 2013, local artist Caitlin von Schmidt designed the event’s current logo, and the official moniker became the “Meals on Wheels Walkathon.” The same year, the event also went online, and fundraisers could set up their own fundraising webpages to gather pledges from their friends and family.
The past few years, local community entertainers have added their special flair to make the Meals on Wheels Walkathon not only the most important way our community comes together to make sure elders are not alone, forgotten, or hungry but also a very special celebration of elders for all ages.
This year the Meals on Wheels Walkathon will turn 25 at the beautiful Greenfield Community College campus on Saturday, April 29, 2017, from 8-11 a.m. Save the date!