Jaywalking: Community run for worthy cause

Monday, July 17, 2017

People will be running this weekend in Northfield to help the needy.

The Loaves and Fishes 3.5-Mile Road Race will take off from the Northfield Town Hall Saturday morning at 9 a.m. and all proceeds will go toward the Loaves and Fishes non-profit organization in Northfield. The race costs just $7 and runners can register on the day of the event beginning at 8 a.m. Prizes will be awarded to the top finishers, but the real reward will be helping those who need it most.

The race is the brainchild of the sister/brother tandem of Sarah and Ed Kaczenski, who are coordinating the race. Both were runners at Pioneer Valley Regional School and have continued running for their college teams. Sarah said that the idea for the Loaves and Fishes Race was hatched after she held a race to benefit her Elms College cross country team last summer. This year, the incoming Elms College senior decided to once again hold a race, only this time she wanted to benefit a different worthwhile cause.

Her brother Ed also hopped on board, helping to organize the race. Ed is currently a pharmacy student at Western New England University, where he is doing immunology research with faculty members. In other words, he is passionate about helping others. He is also a member of the cross country team at the school.

The two got the idea to benefit Loaves and Fishes because of three parishes in Northfield: St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church, Trinitarian Congregational Church, First Parish Unitarian Church.

“Loaves and Fishes is very local,” Sarah said. “It’s helping people right in the community. It’s nice knowing where the money is going.”

Cathy Hawkins-Harrison currently heads Loaves and Fishes, which has been in existence for about a decade. She said the program started when people from the three parishes got together after identifying a need to help those less fortunate in Northfield. Hawkins-Harrison has been the contact person for about three years.

“It’s a huge credit to the original founders that they saw a need and addressed it,” she said. “It really is all based on private donations and offerings that are facilitated through the three churches. It’s a small organization.”

The program is an emergency food and fuel program and Hawkins-Harrison said that the number of people helped by Loaves and Fishes ebbs and flows but that in a calendar year as many as 20 families can be helped. Anyone who does need assistance is encouraged to contact Hawkins-Harrison at 413-498-2038.

Another program being supported by Loaves and Fishes is a summer meals program called Nurturing Northfield. The program is for low-income families and was started by a local woman (who Hawkins-Harrison would not name) who lives in town and identified families in need of support in the summer. The woman and her family run the program gratis and provide families with meals. It’s a combination of effort by the town of Northfield, the Salvation Army, the Northfield Kiwanis and Loaves and Fishes and it helps eight or nine families, and about 18 youths.

With this in mind, Sarah and Ed Kaczenski reached out to Hawkins-Harrison with the idea for the fundraising road race.

“They deserve all the credit. They just called me out of the blue,” Hawkins-Harrison said.

Kaczenski said that she is majoring in social work, which helped her identify the work programs like Loaves and Fishes provides.

“The more I learn in my courses is that there is a need,” she said. “Even if we raise just a small amount, it all helps a good cause.”

Registration begins at 8 a.m. Saturday morning at the Northfield Town Hall. Walkers begin at 8:30 a.m., and runners go at 9.

For more information on the race, contact Sarah Kaczenski at skaczenski@gmail.com.

It has been a difficult year for Tri-County League men’s amateur baseball.

Long time Manny’s TV & Appliance manager Lee Magee passed away back in January. He was the only skipper Manny’s ever knew, serving 27 years at the helm of the team, from its inception in 1990, until this season, when the team disbanded.

During Manny’s best years in the late 2000s, its chief rival was Peoples Bank, which has been the team to enjoy the most sustained success over the past decade-plus. Peoples, which plays out of Mackenzie Park in Holyoke, is still among the top teams in the league and has been for years. One major reason is coach Jim Long. Sadly, Long passed away suddenly on July 12 at the age of 75.

Long had coached Peoples Bank since 1989 and was involved with the league for over 40 years, according to a post on the league website.

Jason Butynski is a Greenfield native and Recorder sportswriter. His email address is jbutynski@recorder.com. Like him on Facebook and leave your feedback at www.facebook.com/jaybutynski.