Fairfield, CT – The Bigelow Tea Community Challenge is hosting its 33rd annual charitable fundraising run with its first ever fully virtual event on Sunday, September 27. This year, the run will be completely virtual due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and in consideration of current event guidelines. Participants are encouraged to register online for the virtual 5k run, virtual 3k walk, or virtual kids’ fun run. This year’s event will feature a live virtual kick-off at 10:00am on race day on the Bigelow Tea Facebook page. Participants are encouraged to stay connected to the BTCC community by posting to social media using the hashtag #BigTeaCC. All participants who register will receive a complimentary goodie bag as well as a BTCC race t-shirt and automatic entry into a virtual raffle.
The Bigelow Tea Community Challenge has been a major source of support for twenty-three local non-profit organizations since its inception in 1987. These local charities depend on the funds raised by this event to enable them to provide much needed shelter, food, educational services, counseling, crisis management services, after-school tutoring and recreational programs to underserved members of our community. More than $1.8 million dollars have been raised by this event since it began, with 100% of the proceeds each year going directly to the charities it supports. Due to the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the needs this year are even greater.
“This year more than ever, our local non-profits need our support. We know that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so many of our local charities have been struggling. That’s why everyone here at Bigelow Tea has been dedicated to making this year’s event happen, one way or another,” says third-generation president and CEO Cindi Bigelow. “Of course, we’re disappointed that this year’s event must be fully virtual and we will not be together on run day, but we’re looking forward to putting on a great virtual event. I would encourage everyone to participate in any way that they can.”
One of the local non-profits served by the Bigelow Tea Community Challenge is the Norma Pfreim Breast Care Center at Bridgeport Hospital. The Norma Pfriem Breast Center has experienced a dramatic loss in funding this year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, while the needs of patients have increased. “Our spring fundraisers were cancelled and while some were rescheduled as virtual events, the amount raised for charity care is significantly less,” says Executive Director Donna Twist. “Funds raised by our events directly impact our ability to provide medical care, patient navigation and support services at the level of excellence our patients have come to expect from our program.” Twist notes that many of their clients are facing added financial burdens due to the pandemic, “forcing them to choose between paying for healthcare and buying food and other living expenses.”
The Connecticut Food Bank also relies on the funds raised by the BTCC to meet the needs of the community. “Each year, the Bigelow Tea Community Challenge brings people together for good causes,” said Connecticut Food Bank Senior Director of Development Bev Catchpole. “Connecticut Food Bank is grateful once again to be part of this event that has done so much to support our work for more than a decade. This year’s event is different in response to challenging times, and support for hungry neighbors is more important than ever.”