Warwick Walkers raising money through hometown mini-march

  • Sue O'Reilly-McRae and her husband Jim McRae promote the upcoming fundraiser walk in Warwick in conjunction iwith Monte’s March, which supports the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 11/20/2020 3:31:13 PM
Modified: 11/20/2020 3:30:59 PM

WARWICK — It’s become an annual tradition for Conway Grammar School teacher Sue O’Reilly-McRae to organize a fundraising walk in conjunction with the annual Monte’s March fundraiser, which supports the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts.

But due to public health concerns amid the pandemic, she said she didn’t want organize a large group to walk the day of. Instead, a group of about two dozen residents, as part of the Warwick Walkers fundraising team, will gather for a brisk walk on Saturday, Nov. 21.

“I still wanted to participate, but I didn’t want to walk with a big group the day of,” said O’Reilly-McRae, a Warwick resident.

Starting at 10 a.m., the walkers will travel 2.6 miles from Moore’s Pond to the town center, by the library and Town Hall. Upon arriving to the town center they’ll be greeted by piano music from O’Reilly-McRae’s husband, Jim McRae.

O’Reilly-McRae said walkers will wear masks and practice social distancing. Those who would like to join the team may email O’Reilly-McRae at sueomc@gmail.com. Or, to make a donation on the Warwick Walkers fundraising page, visit bit.ly/2Uem4tr.

“We’ve had a really good response,” O’Reilly-McRae said.

As of this week, the Warwick Walkers have raised roughly $2,600 toward its $5,000 goal. This year’s goal for the full Monte’s March is to raise $365,000 — the equivalent of 4,000 meals per day for a year.

Each November, WRSI The River’s Christopher “Monte” Belmonte leads a group of supporters in a 43-mile walk from Springfield to Greenfield to raise awareness about food insecurity and raise money for the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts, all while hosting his regular radio show. The 11th annual event will take place on Monday, Nov. 23, and Tuesday, Nov. 24.

O’Reilly-McRae said she had been “floored” by the way food insecurity has affected people locally, and across the country. Throughout the pandemic, she noted, Warwick Mutual Aid members have continued to provide paths to food access for Warwick residents, and Rep. Susannah Whipps, I-Athol, has personally driven to Warwick Town Hall on multiple occasions to drop off food for residents in need of assistance.

Conway Grammar School is again participating in Monte’s March, with students marching at the school on Monday at 2:15 p.m. (two grades), and on Tuesday from 10 to 11:30 a.m. 

Zack DeLuca can be reached at zdeluca@recorder.com or 413-930-4579.


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