At first glance, a community-based non-profit in Jamaica Plain and a world-class race along the coast of Cape Cod don’t have much in common. But look again.
Community Servings and the ASICS Falmouth Road Race were both born out of the generosity of their local community. Both were, and continue to be, fueled by remarkable and dedicated volunteers. And both have grown from humble beginnings to national renown.
Next month, for the second consecutive year, Community Servings sends a team of runners to participate in the charity program of the Falmouth Road Race, Numbers for Nonprofits. “Our participation stands for much more than fundraising,” says Chief Development Officer Tim Leahy. “Many of the same core values drive both of our organizations. We’re about creating opportunities for the people we care about. That’s why our hope is to keep investing in the community around this unique and beautiful event and build relationships over time with the people who make it a reality.”
The Falmouth Road Race began in 1973 as a local fundraiser, launched to send Falmouth’s high-school athletes to meets in the burgeoning space of women’s running. (Entry in the first Falmouth Marathon, as it was called at the time, was $2.)
It was around the time of the first race in Falmouth that one of our runners, Karen Teller, ran her first 10K. “I began running 10K races in Philadelphia,” Karen remembers, “which was a popular running city at the time [as] the running craze in America was just taking off.”
A career in sales sent Karen around the country. Running was a “great way to know the various destinations.” Over the years, the hobby became a passion. Karen ran the Boston Marathon and then went on to complete 13 more, including the New York City Marathon and the Chicago Marathon.
Today the Falmouth Road Race attracts over 3,000 runners and 300 teams a year. While many of the runners are elite and Olympic-caliber athletes, others are simply drawn by the opportunity to be part of a special community and support a good cause. Community is a through line in the race’s history even today. And since 2000, Numbers for Nonprofits has helped charity partners raise over $56.6M.
“I have always thought about running the famous Falmouth Road Race,” Karen says. “When I saw the charity program and bibs for Community Servings, I decided this would be the year. I have a good friend on the board, many friends who volunteer, and [I] have been a [donor] and volunteer.”
“This is an amazing organization,” Karen adds, “and their mission is so needed by many.”
Another member of our team cites dedication to Community Servings as her reason for running. A lifelong athlete, Sarah Smullin Malkenson developed a love of running in adulthood. But the draw of the Falmouth Road Race is the team. “To me,” Sarah says, “Community Servings is a place where I can be a part of something bigger than myself. It was one of the first indoor spaces I visited outside my home during the pandemic, providing me with the social connection that I really needed at that time. It is a place where I can learn new cooking skills and know that my efforts are helping to bring sustenance to folks when they need it the most.”
Sarah contributes to Community Servings in many ways. Lately, Sarah has supported our Teaching Kitchen job-training program, where she helps trainees with digital literacy and job coaching.
With about one month to go before the race, the Community Servings team has already accomplished a great deal. “As of now, our runners have raised about 70% of their total fundraising goal of $15,000,” Tim reports. “We’re so thankful for everything our runners are doing to support us. The dedication and generosity of our community is always so powerful!”
Donations will support Community Servings’ medically tailored meals program, an evidence-based nutrition intervention that home-delivers nutritious, delicious, scratch-made meals to people who are living with critical or chronic illnesses and nutrition insecurity. A gift of $100 can provide an entire week of medically tailored meals to a family of four. We hope you will consider donating to our team!
For more of the fascinating lore and history surrounding the Falmouth Road Race, check out the book A History of the Falmouth Road Race by Paul C. Clerici, which was a valuable resource for the writing of this blog!