AMHERST, Mass. (WWLP) – At the sound of a horn, nearly two thousand participants hit the ground running at UMass Amherst Saturday afternoon.
The Dash and Dine 5K was no ordinary race, this year, was the 6th race, and it attracted more participants, runners, and volunteers then ever before.
UMass Amherst sophomore, Ashley Kaiser was one of this year’s participants. “It’s for a great cause, for the Amherst Survival Center, which is awesome. It’s just so much fun to have everyone come out here and run together, I did it last year and I really enjoyed it. I love the crowd, I love everyone that’s here, and it’s just so much fun,” she said.
The Amherst Survival Center is there when residents from Hampshire and Franklin Counties are facing tough times. Each year, the center helps more than 4,400 people get back on their feet.
Mindy Domb, the executive director of the Amherst Survival Center told 22News this race plays an important role in their fundraising efforts. “The funds that are raised through this event are critically needed. We provide daily hot lunch, a monthly food pantry, a community store, a free walk in health center,” she said.
UMass Dining organizes the race to ensure those critical services continue, and they have no trouble getting help from hundreds of students and faculty. The chancellor of UMass Amherst, Kumble Subbaswamy, told 22News this isn’t just a great community event, it also teaches their students about the importance of volunteering. “We try to involve students in positive things; it’s about improving and building the community. Even our own students and our own staff fall into certain situation where they need extra help,” he said.
Over the past few years, UMass Dining has raised nearly $20,000 for the Survival Center.