Ultra-marathon runner races from CA to CT to help raise more than $40K for Foodshare

Hartford

BLOOMFIELD, Conn. (WTNH) — Tuesday, Dec. 1 marks “Giving Tuesday,” a time to help people in need this holiday season.

Foodshare’s mission is to feed hungry families all year long, and this Giving Tuesday it’s getting a little help from an athlete.

On Tuesday, Shan Riggs, an ultra-marathon runner, kicked off the final leg of his 3,210-mile run to raise money for the Bloomfield food bank.

“I’ve been running really long distance races for a long time and I’ve always dreamed of crossing the country. And suddenly had an opportunity because of the pandemic I had some time on my hands. And I’ve also been working with Foodshare for a couple of years,” said Riggs.

He lost his job, so he hit the road, along with some help from travel partner Callie.

“As much as you want to remember every day, it’s been 90 days of running so it’s pretty much just running,” said Riggs.

The 41-year-old started his race on Sept. 1 in San Francisco, and after crossing 12 states and running an average of 40 miles per day, and will end his nearly three-month endeavor in Connecticut.

But he’s not just running, he’s raising money too. His goal is to raise $31,000. To help him achieve that goal, Stop & Shop is participating in Thankful Thursdays by donating $25 for every mile he runs that day.

“We work with Foodshare for many years and the pandemic has only amplified the need. People who have never found themselves in need of food banks are finding themselves need, so we found it really important to not only contribute in this way but in other ways we have to make sure we’re helping our neighbors in need,” said Sarah Williams, media relations, Stop & Shop.

Connecticut-based Health Insurance company, ConnectiCare, has also vowed to match all donations made to his run, as well as up to $25,000 worth of gifts made on Giving Tuesday. 

As of Dec. 1, he has raised a total of $40K for FoodShare with the help of Stop & Shop and ConnectiCare.

“Going across the country for three months, to see all the people that support, as soon as people find out what we’re doing, they immediately either give or help, so it’s been an encouraging thing to see in these divisive times,” Riggs said.

Foodshare is no stranger to these fundraising feat. This summer two cousins ran from the Canadian border, raising $13,000. But this cross-country run is by far the biggest gesture they’ve received.

“It’s incredible. It’s one of the greatest things anyone’s ever done for us at Foodshare. It really means a lot to us,” said Jason Jakubowski, Foodshare.

And in the end, timing couldn’t have worked out better. 

“You start a run in California on September 1, you don’t know that you’re going to end on giving Tuesday in Connecticut. But it just happened it coincided that way. It’s been a rough year, there’s been a lot of tough things that have happened this year. We’ve definitely seen on the front lines just how difficult people have it. This is a great feel-good story that’s going to do a lot of good for a lot of people. We’re excited for him and we’re so thankful,” said Jakubowski.

Those interested in donating can do so online.

Foodshare serves Hartford and Tolland counties.

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