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Millis XC Runs Millis Event for Millis Neighbors

On Monday, September 14th, members of the Millis High School Cross Country team presented Millis Ecumenical Food Pantry volunteer Barbara Bryant with a check for $5,200, which they raised in a 24-hour event in which they ran 26.2 miles. 

They had hoped to raise $500. The Millis Cross Country Team, a mix of young men and women, set forth on a 24-hour mission to support the Millis Food Pantry in the third week of August. In the end, they raised $5,200, far beyond their expectations, and a car load of food.

“They ran on the hour starting at 12 p.m. Thursday, and they ran as a group, throughout the night and day, in rain and sunshine,” said Coach Siobhan Clayton, in her second year coaching the team. She deferred to the team’s Captain, Joseph Scolponeti, to explain how the project came together. 

Scolponeti, whose home on Ryan Road served as a makeshift headquarters in a neighborhood that has an approximate one-mile-loop, expressed amazement that the fundraiser came together so well and raised as much as it did. He credited Michaela Hafford (who recently ranked third in the TVL) with the idea, as it was something she’d always wanted to do, and Colton McCain for setting up the Go Fund Me page. 

In conversation, said Scolponeti, “one of us said it would be fun to run 26 miles in 24 hours. Initially, we wanted to do it just for fun, but the coach heard us and brought up the idea of doing it 

as a fundraiser. One of our first ideas was the food pantry – we wanted to give it straight back to the community, to people we probably know. A Millis event for Millis neighbors.”

 In addition to raising over $5K for the food pantry, Millis XC also collected a carload of food donations for the food pantry.

Scolponeti said his neighborhood was ideal, with little traffic, neighbors were forewarned with flyers. Many were very supportive of the event, donating, coming out to cheer them and some even running with the group. 

Elizabeth Derwin, Director of the Millis Food Pantry, was especially impressed with the creativity of the young runners. 

“To think of the idea, do the plan, execute it all and have a tremendous result of $5,200 – the team did such a great job,” said Derwin. The Director says this donation has been earmarked to help the 70 registered families who use the food pantry at holiday time with its Holiday Helper Program. 

“We (usually) gather items to help people with the holidays (with help from) the churches in town,” says Derwin. “With COVID, that’s just not going to be possible this year.” The substantial donation, then, comes in very handy.

The Millis Ecumenical Food Pantry is open every Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon, and the first and third Wednesday of the month, also from 10 a.m. to noon. 

“The Pantry has maintained its full schedule all the way through the pandemic,” says Derwin. “We’ve never turned anyone away.” The pantry, due to the pandemic, is operating outside, with a corps of volunteers taking checklists from patrons and other volunteers inside gathering items. 

“We stay six feet away, identify what they want, send the list in and bag it, then put it in the trunks of cars,” says the Pantry director. Derwin says the Pantry will continue to operate in this manner until the Millis Board of Health determines it’s safe to do something different. 

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