Each year in October runners would get dressed in Halloween Costumes and head down to Bremen Street Park to take part in the East Boston YMCA’s annual “East BOOston 5K” road race and fundraiser.
However, the COVID-19 pandemic has put a halt to in-person fundraisers for many Eastie nonprofits and the Y’s annual 5K is no different and has been forced to be creative.
“For individuals and families across East Boston, 2020 has presented us with adversity that has challenged us all,” said East Boston Y Executive Director Joe Gaeta. “This fall, the East Boston YMCA aims to help our community grow stronger together by engaging our neighbors in a virtual wellness and community-building experience that spans nine days and directly benefits the East Boston community.”
Gaeta said this year the Y will be taking a break from its traditional fun filled East BOOston 5K and is inviting the community to take part in a new virtual 5K.
“From October 10-18, we invite everyone to participate in our “Together We Run 5K Run/Walk,” said Gaeta. “The course will take you from the entrance of the Y to beautiful Piers Park via the Mary Ellen Welch Greenway back to the East Boston Public Library. This is an all age’s family event that can be done at your own leisure during the 9 days.”
During the 5K week, the Y will host physically distanced water sports, social media activities and a walkthrough photo booth. Each completion of the 5K gives the participant a raffle ticket with the chance to win over $3,000 is prizes that range from gift cards to a Staycation at the Hilton Logan Airport.
Gaeta said all funds raised for the 5K stay in Eastie and will help the Y continue its food insecurity program.
“To this date, we have served over 300,000 meals and over 30,000 pantry bags to the community,” said Gaeta.
Those interested can register at www.racemenu.com/togetherwerun and make sure to select “East Boston YMCA” when asked which neighborhood to support.
“The Y has had to pivot on many accounts since March from food service to Emergency Child care but we have been with the community every step of the way,” said Gaeta. “Our virtual 5k brings a healthy distraction for the community as they help us continue our food program. We have seen the need for food grow week after week here in East Boston. Each registration to the 5K directly helps us continue this program. Community support is the backbone of the Y and we couldn’t achieve all we have without East Boston.”
Gaeta added that participants will still get some 5K swag for participating. “Don’t worry we will still have a cool t-shirt this year,” he said.