There are countless road races all across the country every summer (understatement of the year). Here's the story behind one coming up in Vermont later this month, which sounds very cool. I'm all about races and community events that serve a larger purpose - as most do.
Under The Tree Road Race Benefits Community Members in Need
Hartland, VT – On August 18, 2012, Hartland, VT will play host to competitive runners as they take to the road at the Under The Tree 5K and 10K Road Race. In its fourth year, the annual event serves as a fundraiser organized by the Hartland Christmas Project (HCP) that helps Hartland families and individuals in economic need with a variety of services available throughout the year. During the past year, more than $15,000 has been raised 55 Hartland families have been helped. The race starts at 9am.
The Under The Tree 5K and 10K Road Race is one of two annual fund raising events that are coordinated by the Hartland Christmas Project. The HCP began providing services to Hartland residents more than 28 years ago when two large area employers, Cone Blanchard and the Good Year Tire Company, shuttered their doors laying off a number of Hartland residents who permanently lost their jobs.
“The Hartland Christmas Project started out as means for one neighbor to help another after a job loss when two large area employers closed their doors,” said Jeannie Frazer, Chairwoman of the Hartland Christmas Project. “Today, during our current national economic downturn, the need is even greater,” she continued.
The year round services that are provided by the HCP have somewhat outlived the name, as the Hartland Christmas Project started around the Christmas holiday 28 years ago, providing gifts for children of the families affected by the company closings. Today, the HCP not only provides holiday gifts for children and adults during the holidays, it also gives fruit baskets to Hartland residents that are 80 years or older as well as a great deal of other services. Last year, the HCP provided more than $15,000 in aid, representing 98 percent of the funds generated going towards the community organization’s intended purpose; helping care for families and individuals in crisis.
According to Jeannie, “While the fruit baskets are appreciated by the older folks, it’s the visit that really brings a smile to their faces as many of their family members no longer live in the area and travel can be hard.”
The Hartland Christmas Project serves to empower those in need rather than enable by simply giving money away. Often times, before their services are offered, they direct the person or family in crisis to municipal services at the local, state and federal level. When those avenues have been exhausted, they step in helping however they can whether it be to pay a utility bill, help find an apartment, locate furniture and appliances, help with gifts around the holidays and more.
The Hartland Christmas Project and the Under The Tree 5K and 10K Road Race embody the spirit of giving and community. Volunteers pool their resources to organize annual support of those in need as well as fund raising activities. Funding for the HCP is generated from private citizens, race entry fees and local businesses. A number of corporate citizens such as Mascoma Bank, Paradise Sports Shop, Hands on Healing Massage, Stateline Sports, Frazer Agency Insurance, and Mt. Ascutney Hospital and Health Center are sponsoring this year’s event with Mt. Ascutney Hospital and Health Center providing medical support for race participants. To take part in the 5K or 10K race, visit signmeup.com to securely register online. To be a race sponsor, contact Jeannie Frazer at 802.356.4789.
About the Hartland Christmas Project
Founded in 1984, the Hartland Christmas Project is a community-base organization of resident volunteers whose mission it is to help their neighbors in need. In the beginning, the Hartland Christmas Project provided gifts for the children of families that lost their income following the closing of Cone Blanchard and the Goodyear Tire Company. Today, the Hartland Community Project provide help for more than 55 families and individuals in need of support during financial crisis due to loss of income or other life changing event. The Hartland Christmas Project seeks to empower rather than enable those served with financial assistance, assistance in locating apartments, and much more. For information about the Hartland Christmas Project, to volunteer or to sponsor the Under the Tree 5K and 10K Road Race, contact Jeannie Frazer at 802.356.4789.