Interfaith’s Stop the Stigma 5K raises $120K for mental health
Proceeds from Interfaith Social Services’ annual 5K provide mental health counseling sessions for those in need
A record number of runners and walkers joined Interfaith Social Services’ 49th annual Stop the Stigma 5K raising funds and awareness for mental health and addiction care. More than 700 participants took part in the April 29 event in North Quincy, raising over $120,000. Event proceeds fund counseling sessions for those in need at Interfaith’s New Directions Counseling Center.
New Directions serves anyone seeking counseling but prides itself on being a safety net for the uninsured and underinsured members of the community by offering services on a sliding scale fee system. To further break down barriers to receiving treatment, new clients to the New Directions Counseling Center receive their first four sessions free of charge.
Many 5K participants share a strong tie to the event’s “Stop the Stigma” mission; some told their stories anonymously in a post-race survey. “My family, like so many others, has been impacted by mental illness,” said one participant. “We are in the fortunate position of having insurance and a support system, but no one should be denied access to mental health. I am grateful for the essential mental health services Interfaith provides to anyone who needs them.”
“I ran this race in honor of a dear friend who battled mental illness,” said another participant. “The mission to eliminate barriers from receiving services is lifesaving work. I am proud to support this cause in my friend’s memory.”
This year’s race participants were invited to sign a poster sharing who they were running or walking for that day. They were also treated to bagels and refreshments courtesy of Gold Medal Bakery and Polar Beverages, physical therapy screenings from Joint Ventures Physical Therapy and photos opportunities with Pat the Patriot.
Valdir Deolirelra of Quincy was the fastest male, with a finish time of 18:11. Molly Dempsey of Quincy earned the fasted female title, with a finish time of 20:55. Gia Plaskasovitis of Quincy earned the fastest youth title in the newly added age 15 and under category with a time of 21:07.
The 2023 Stop the Stigma 5K is sponsored by many generous local businesses, including 5K Level Sponsors Arbella Insurance Foundation and The Heritage Companies; Gold Level Sponsors Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital – Milton, Colonial Federal Savings Bank, Gather Health Primary Care, J. Calnan & Associates, New England Medical Group, South Shore Bank and Summit Energy; and Silver Level Sponsors Bank of Canton, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, First Congregational Church UCC of Randolph, FoxRock Properties, IntelyCare, Keohane Funeral Home, Law Offices of William T. Kennedy, P.C., Lawson & Weitzen, LLP, Lombardo’s Hospitality Group, McGovern Automotive Group, Point32Health, SIGNET Electronic Systems, South Shore Health and United Healthcare.
Interfaith Social Services provides South Shore residents with the resources necessary to support a healthy and fulfilling life. Their programs include one of the largest emergency food programs in Greater Boston as well as a mental health counseling center, homelessness prevention program, the Bureau Drawer Thrift Shop and seasonal initiatives bringing joy to children and families in need.
Next year’s 50th annual Stop the Stigma 5K will take place on Saturday, April 27, 2024, in North Quincy.
To find out more about Interfaith’s programs, visit InterfaithSocialServices.org.