When Autumne Gee starting planning the Filling the ‘Community Cupboard’ 5K Walk/Run & Brunch event, she didn’t know what to expect for participation.
“I was praying for around 40 registered runners,” Gee said.
She was more than happy when 83 runners registered for the event, Saturday, July 26 at Hatten Park in New London.
On doubling her goal for the number of runners, Gee said, “It was really astonishing to see how many good people there really are left.”
In addition to the runners, Gee said some people just came to the event to drop off food, while others just took in the brunch. She said many brought more than the suggested minimum number of food items.
“Seeing that, it really made me proud that I did this for them and it really made me excited to be surrounded by people who cared just as much as I did,” Gee said. “It was just out of the goodness of their hearts that they wanted to be there to give back. I was really excited to see that.”
She added, “I think our attendance was well over 100, which is really exciting,” she said.
In total, the event brought in 1,210 donated items for the Community Cupboard.
“We literally filled the Community Cupboard, which was our goal,” Gee said.
Gee said the event would not have been possible without the help of local businesses and volunteers.
Keith Olmstead & Sons, Inc. was the main sponsor of the event. Other sponsors included Coppershot, London Jewelers, Shamrock Heights Golf & Supper Club, Synergy (Christie Buskirk), Crystal Besaw, Amanda’s Cupcakes, Dragonfly Paddlers, LLC, Laura’s Confection Connection, Family Video (New London), Wholistic Health, LLC (The Wellness Spa), Antiques With INN, Bult’s Quality Bake Shop (New London), Misquito Hill Nature Center, Crystal Falls Banquet Facility, Butch’s Piggly Wiggly, Festival Foods, Hillshire Brands Company, Jordan Robbins & Stacie Damveld, Sturm Foods, Inc., 1st National State Bank, and River Edge Salon.
Gee said Synergy went above the call of duty, collecting food, working the water stations, and donating a gift basket for the raffle giveaway.
“I would really like to give them a shout out,” Gee said.
Gee said her family was also a tremendous help, including her husband Kevin and daughters Lily and Holly. Others included her parents Jeff and Cathy Besaw, sister April Murphy, cousin Linda Radtke and her children, aunt Becky Flanagan, and her sister’s son Kade Krolow.
The fact the event was local was important to participants, Gee said.
“I think that sense of community really drew people in knowing they were making a difference right in New London which was really fantastic,” Gee said.
Even before the success of this year’s event, Gee said she planned on planning it again next year.
“I thought even if I got two boxes of food, that’s more than they had before we did it,” Gee said.
She added, “It’s not easy. It does take planning and organization but it was definitely worth it for sure.”