Redesigned 5K takes more than 155,000 ‘steps to resilience’

PHOTO COURTESY OF GOOD GRIEF

Good Grief faced a challenge this spring when COVID-19 restrictions forced the cancellation of one its most important fundraising events: its annual 5K Run and Walk for Hope.

Over the previous eight years, the 5K had grown from a small family affair to a large community gathering, drawing more than 1,300 participants to the campus of Giralda Farms in Madison. In 2019, the event raised more than $120,000 in support of grieving children and families in New Jersey, according to information provided by the organization.

To build on that success in 2020 while complying with new social distancing rules, Good Grief’s leadership developed a plan to replace its one-day event with a four-week virtual experience called Steps to Resilience. Participants were invited to join the experience any time between May 9 and June 7 and to choose how to take their steps – walking, running, inside or outside, on a sidewalk, track or treadmill.

Results announced on June 10 demonstrate the resounding success of the month-long virtual event. Through the efforts of its families, volunteers, sponsors, and staff who took more than 12 million steps during the campaign, Good Grief raised more than $155,000 to continue providing free programs to grieving children and families. More than three-quarters of the funds raised came through peer to peer fundraising where participants tap their social networks for support, according to the statement.

“It has been so amazing to witness this outpouring of generosity and support at a time when so many people are experiencing challenging circumstances in their lives,” Good Grief CEO Joe Primo said in the statement. “We extend our thanks to everyone who participated in this event. The many steps you have taken are one giant leap for grieving kids.”

The event concluded on June 7 with a virtual 5K and celebration recognizing individuals and teams for their outstanding contributions. The top team – Semper Fidelis – raised more than $11,000 in memory of Huan Yang of Summit. The team consisted of Huan’s wife Xia Wang and sons Yuming Yang and Yuchen Yang. Through hard work and determination, they far surpassed their initial fundraising goal of $1,000, according to the statement.

Sponsors recognized for their support of the virtual event included Atlantic Health Systems, Affiliated Management, Inc., Application Consulting Group, Deloitte, JBK Associates, Morris Animal Inn, Private Advisor Group, Sax LLP, Strawn Arnold & Associates, and Terabyte Consulting, LLC.

For more information, contact Heather Goodman at Heather@good-grief.org.

Good Grief delivers grief services to children and their families, serving more than 1,100 participants in New Jersey each month. Good Grief is a registered 501(c) (3) tax-exempt non-profit organization whose mission is to build resilience in children, strengthen families, and empower communities to grow from loss and adversity. For more information, visit www.good-grief.org