BELOIT - Charging through snow and rain, volunteers for Beloit Meals on Wheels face the elements every day of the year to deliver meals to local elderly residents.
To the help the organization make their deliveries, which includes meals to 100 clients every week day, Beloit Meals on Wheels has partnered with other chapters across the nation to celebrate the month-long March for Meals campaign.
Executive director Ellen Wiegand said the campaign helps all the Meals on Wheels programs come together raise awareness for the independence of the homebound elderly, ill and disabled. The campaign also helps local programs like the one in Beloit recruit volunteers and fundraise. Beloit Meals on Wheels has planned more than 20 fundraisers throughout the month of March at businesses and organizations in Beloit, South Beloit and Roscoe, culminating in the eighth annual Mushing for Meals Run/Walk Event.
"It's just really heartwarming the community is so supportive of our organization," Wiegand said. "It makes us realize how much our work is valued in the community, and knowing that they care for the elderly and support our mission is just amazing."
The mushing event, which is sponsored by Regal Beloit and Kerry, offers a 10k run and 5k run/walk. The races are set to begin at 9 a.m. on March 30 at Horace White Park. Entry fees are $10 for youth age 17 and under and $15 for adults. Prices increase $5 after Saturday.
Race packets can be picked up from 2-7 p.m. on March 29 a the Beloit Meals on Wheels office, 424 College St., or on event day from 7:30-8:30 a.m. at the registration table. Participants can register up to the day of the event.
First, second and third prizes will be given in age groups for male and female participants.
On race day, a real mushing team will start the race.
Participants also can form their own mushing team of at least three people who must be physically attached, and run single file throughout the race. Costumes are encouraged, and participants will compete for a best costume award. The first place mushing team will win a $150 prize.
"We call it mushing, because you never know what you'll run into, mush, slush and other obstacles," Wiegand said.
Beloit Meals on Wheels kicked off its March for Meals campaign at the Beloit Culver's on March 1 and held the ninth annual Strike Out Hunger Bowling fundraiser on March 2.
Throughout the month, the organization will be selling raffle tickets to nine baskets featuring gift cards for more than 100 local businesses. Tickets may be purchased at any event or at the Beloit Meals on Wheels office. Wiegand said last year the organization was able to raise more than $6k from the raffle alone.
Here are some of the other fundraisers for Beloit Meals on Wheels planned for the rest of the month:
• Every Tuesday in March Wendy's, 14465 Black Blvd., South Beloit, will donate 15 percent of every sale to Beloit Meals on Wheels.
• The Rock, 101 Maple Ave., will host a Painting Party at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday.
• Suds O'Hanahan's, 425 E. Grand Ave., will host St. Patrick's Day celebrations from 3-10 p.m. on Friday and from 11 a.m. - 8 p.m. on Sunday.
• Mary's Place Custom Catering will serve corned beef and cabbage from 11 a.m. - 7 p.m. on Saturday at the South Beloit Business Men's Hall, 525 Washington St.
• Bushel & Peck's, 328 State St., Trivia Night at 7:30 p.m. on March 21 will benefit Beloit Meals on Wheels.
• Viking Lanes, 210 Oak Grove Ave., South Beloit, will host Guest Bartender Night on March 22.
• The Grand Slam, 173 W. Grand Ave., will host a Couples Pub Pool Tournament starting at 1 p.m. on March 23.
• The North East Business Association will host an All You Can Eat Spaghetti Dinner from 5-8 p.m. on March 27 at the Moose Lodge, 1806 Gale Drive, Beloit.
For those looking to get involved, Wiegand said the organization also is always looking for more volunteers to deliver meals to clients. For more information on any of the events or on the organization, go to BeloitMealsonWheels.org.