Mini Monte’s March fundraiser in Conway rallies behind ‘food for all’ effort

  • Conway Grammar School fifth and sixth grade students pose for a photo after their mini Monte’s March on Tuesday, which raised nearly $3,700 for the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts. STAFF PHOTO/CHRIS LARABEE

  • Conway Grammar School students march in their mini Monte’s March on Tuesday, which raised nearly $3,700 for the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts. STAFF PHOTO/CHRIS LARABEE

  • Conway Grammar School students march in their mini Monte’s March on Tuesday, which raised nearly $3,700 for the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts. STAFF PHOTO/CHRIS LARABEE

  • Conway Grammar School students march in their mini Monte’s March on Tuesday, which raised nearly $3,700 for the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts. STAFF PHOTO/CHRIS LARABEE

  • Conway Grammar School students march in their mini Monte’s March on Tuesday, which raised nearly $3,700 for the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts. Principal Kristen Gordon cheers them on. STAFF PHOTO/CHRIS LARABEE

Staff Writer
Published: 11/22/2022 7:50:55 PM
Modified: 11/22/2022 7:50:44 PM

CONWAY — Having raised nearly $3,700 for the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts on Tuesday, Conway Grammar School students’ chanted requests of “food for all” are one step closer to becoming reality.

While WRSI radio personality Christopher “Monte” Belmonte continued his 43-mile march from Springfield to Greenfield on Tuesday, Conway Grammar School’s 135 students held their seventh annual mini Monte’s March, rallying the Conway community to raise $3,659. Belmonte visited the school in costume earlier this month to explain to the students why he marches every year to raise money to combat food insecurity.

Students enthusiastically waved signs and yelled chants ranging from spelling “food” to “Let’s go, Monte!” as they walked the school’s half-mile driveway loop. During their first lap, students were treated to a Conway Highway Department tractor making its way up the driveway and honking its horn in support.

“It makes me feel good,” said fifth grader Susannah Van Driesche, who noted this was the first time they’ve been able to participate without masks in a few years. Asked about the school’s $3,659 donation, she added that “even small things can make something big.”

Sixth grader Rowan Harrison said that, despite Conway’s small size, the community brought a lot of money together for a good cause.

“It’s a lot coming from a small town,” Rowan said. “It’s amazing we can come together.”

Fellow sixth grader Rylan Waskiewicz added they have been diligently working as a school to gather donations.

“We’ve been trying really hard to raise as much money as we can,” Rylan said.

The majority of the school walked a mile — equating to two laps — while the fifth and sixth graders, who typically help lead the event, walked three laps. As the older students finished their final lap, Principal Kristen Gordon praised their leadership in raising so much money.

“Those are going to be the brilliant adults of the world someday,” Gordon said.

Gordon said the school’s students put in so much effort into rallying the school and Conway community at large because they know they can make a difference for their neighbors. Money was raised through donations by families, collections by the Parent-Teacher Organization and an online donation page.

“This is something the children really believe in,” Gordon said. “This school community is really amazing. Anytime we dig into a belief, we always get a large amount of support and we feel that all the time.”

Following the school march, Gordon said three of the school’s staff members planned to join Belmonte as he finished his final stretch into Greenfield.

Chris Larabee can be reached at clarabee@recorder.com or 413-930-4081.


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