The Right Path's "race against hunger," Righditarod No. 2, was a success thanks to many volunteers and incredible community support. For our returning teams from last year, wind and chilly temperatures were a big improvement over rain showers.
Where else can a group dress in silly costume and push a decorated bright yellow Food 4 Less shopping cart through the streets of downtown Marietta? How about eating Tim Bits, moving spaghetti around on a fork, learning a song and dance routine, riding a small tricycle through an obstacle course or fulfilling some other silly challenge? Maybe you visited the Campus Martius Museum and used the letterboxing clues and had your picture taken.
The Right Path's role is to promote healthy youth development and help our youth feel connected to, and supported by, their community. Community service is an excellent means to achieve this goal. The 10 county food pantries and the Harvest of Hope are the recipients of our youth "paying it forward." We have worked with our school service clubs, civic organizations and colleges on many food drives throughout the years, but this is the mother-lode of food drives and very necessary to help stock the shelves of our pantry partners.
Many of our school partners hosted mini-Righditarods the week before the race, joining in some friendly competition. Phillips, Putnam and Belpre Elementary were joined by Frontier High School and Belpre High School to collect over 4,554 items, sharing them with the pantries in their respective communities.
Community members joined in the fun by challenging their colleagues to donate items to the cause. Dr. Wes Nida encouraged fellow dentists to donate toothbrushes, floss, etc., donating two boxes himself. Hotel Lafayette's Christina Thrasher challenged other hotels/motels to donate personal care items with the Hotel donating $100 in shampoo, body wash, etc.
Youth service clubs volunteered at challenge sites, youth partnered with adults to form teams, community members teamed up with youth for last minute make-shift teams. Food pantry directors helped judge challenges; businesses opened the door for our event, transported our carts back and forth, encouraged gawkers, sponsored teams, donated items, dollars and promoted our effort.
Truly a community event in every way, it would not be possible without the following partners:
Dominion Gas, $10,000 donation to start our fund
The Adelphia, our partner site, John Walsh and Audrey Moodie
The City of Marietta and Mayor Matthews
The Washington County Mental Health and Recovery (MHAR) Board, David Browne and Miriam Keith
The Right Path for Washington County
Lynn Doebrich, who spent endless hours as the master planner of the Righditarod
Clear Channel Radio, Greg Siegfried and Rodney Ortiz
WMOA Radio, John Wharff
The Marietta Times, Claire Heiby
The Anchor, Callie Lyons
Parkersburg News and Sentinel, Jolene Craig
Ohio Valley Media and Kelly Ortiz
Wendy's, Ray Blackburn
Tim Horton's and Kathy Ferguson
Discount Sign's and Awnings, Penny and Kenny Weeks
Food 4 Less, Bucky Lee
Apex True Value, Ben Cogswell
Roger's Imaging, Roger Forshey
Selby Tobacco Prevention Project, Stephanie Davis and Joellen Masten
Boy Scout Troop #207, Roger Stull and scouts
Marietta Middle School Builder's Club, Mark Doebrich
Belpre Elementary Right Choice Club, Karen Waller
RSVP, O'Neill Center, Lisa Valentine
Marietta Community Foundation, Heather Daugherty and Carol Wharff,
Newport Pantry, Dave Riggs
Marietta Memorial Health Systems, Darlene Davis
Marietta Care and Rehabilitation for donating reusable shopping bags for our pantries
Marietta Food Pantry, Bill and Sharon Farnsworth
Gospel Mission Pantry, Jeff and Candy Waite
Fort Frye High School and Justin Moody
Belpre Chamber of Commerce and Kelly Cox
our Master of Ceremonies Griffin Erb
Belpre Rotary Club
Noon Rotary Members James Maston, Nancy Creighton, Peter Prigge, Heather Daugherty and Molly Varner, Prieto and Schott CPAs and David Vandenberg
Dan Harrison and Harrison Construction
Marietta College, Marilee Morrow, Zane Carter, Brandy Clift and Carrie White
Washington State Community College, Gary Williams
Dr. Wes Nida
Family Tree Dental
The Righditarod challenge sites: Campus Martius Museum and Glenna Clutter, Harmar Elementary and Cheryl Cook, The Castle and Scott Britton, Spagna's and Kevin Whitby, Pride DoJo and Cat and Joe Bigley, Perry and Associates and Randall Perry and Joel Erb, Hermann Fine Arts
The Right Path's Food Pantry Partners: Newport, New Matamoras, Lowell Area Mission Basket, Belpre Area Ministries, Church of God, Marietta Food Pantry, Gospel Mission, Western Washington County, Beverly-Waterford, Lower Salem and Harvest of Hope
Our race teams: Rotoract, Marietta Noon Rotary, Marietta Kiwanis, Lucky Charms, Cadets for a Cause, WebKinz, Italian Stallions, Peoples' Bank "Lucky Ones," Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Belpre High School Bikini Girls and Team Wendy's, consisting of Ray Blackburn, Caleb Carpenter and Austin Magers (who, knowing that they didn't have enough people to be a qualifying team, joined in the race at the 11th hour, finished in record time and provided a generous donation)
A special thanks to Jim Amrine, Amrine Awards and Apparel, for donating our recognition plaques, to Magnum Magnetics for donating Right Path magnetic signs, and to anyone we have inadvertently left off of this list.
We look forward to Righditarod No. 3.
Cathy Harper is coordinator for The Right Path for Washington County, a United Way Agency.