Hot Chocolate Run supports domestic violence victims

The event was made up of a 5k road race, 5k fun run and 3k walk.

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – Thousands gathered in Northampton Sunday to help victims of domestic violence.

These people ran in the cold for a mug full of hot chocolate, whcih they received after crossing the finish line at the 14th annual Hot Chocolate Run. The run benefits Safe Passage, an organization that provides resources for survivors of domestic violence.

Nearly 6,000 participants crossed the finish line after running through downtown Northampton, to promote freedom from violence in Hampshire County.

Linda Wallack is the team captain for Birds of a Feather this year. She told 22News that is event is especially important to her this year, after seeing so many cases of sexual harassment and assault all across the country. “Women are being empowered to speak out about their abuses. It’s just very meaningful to me at this point in our political arena to have a feeling of community.”

Runner Aidan Griffiths of Belchertown said that he likes that this organization doesn’t limit help to just women. “Men who have been abused also are getting help, and it’s not a one-sided issue, and it’s inclusive to everybody.”

This year $615,000 was raised for the organization, which board president Natasha Yakovlev says will continue to help provide resources for those in need. “It’s incredible, and it’s critical. For staffing, children’s advocates, shelter advocates, everything. It allows us to reach more people and provide more services.”

Click here for more information about Safe Passage, and their resources for victims of domestic violence.