We Gather Together

Originally published in Nov 2007 as a Goals Gone Wild newsletter.

Thanksgiving, another chance to overeat, visit with the family and give 40,000 grocery items to a local food pantry. I had a lot of help with that last one. Read on to learn more.

For seven years, Cape Cod has practiced a new Thanksgiving tradition. One created from passion and respect, and carried out by a squadron of volunteers with truly charitable goals. One that brings hundreds of people together as a community and displays the power of little gifts that collectively make a big difference. As a bonus, it’s also a healthy way to start a day associated with bloated waistlines and food comas.

The We Gather Together 5K was started in 2001 by Rich Havens and his Time Out! Productions team. The entry fee for the race is $5 and a bag of groceries that go to the Sandwich Food Panty (and affiliates). What a great idea. This year I finally got the chance to ask Rich about the origins of the race.

It all started with his parents. He discovered that they had been making regular donations to their local food pantry, but that age and illness made it difficult to continue that practice. Then, the big idea struck. He took their passion for charity and combined it with his expertise in managing racing events. Add in a community of volunteers and you have some magical, THRIVE-alicous alchemy.

Passion + Expertise + Teamwork = Awesome Achievements

New England weather is never a sure thing and this race has faced some severe conditions. The people committed to this effort as organizers, volunteers, runners and walkers have faced rain, cold rain, freezing rain and single digit temperatures (luckily without rain). Yesterday we had it easy and enjoyed blue skies with 60 degree weather. (Somwhere Al Gore is readying another powerpoint presentation on this phenomena).

As I looked around at the crowd I was struck by the good will and comraderie on display. I saw reunions with visiting friends from far off places, couples with new babies in strollers walking the course, serious racers attempting PRs, neighbor cheering neighbor and strangers greeting new faces with laughs and smiles.

Above it all I saw a tractor trailer truck overflowing with food for those in need and a community goaded into action. I saw small sacrifices turned into great bounty. I saw Thanksgiving in action.

Bringing It Home

The We Gather Together 5K shows how it can be done on a large scale. How can we bring it home to work for us? Successful achievments don’t have to be big. Maybe our family’s Thanksgiving dinner is a good example. We all have a passion for a good meal. We don’t all have expertise in preparing one. We can use teamwork to make it come together.

Whoever hosts cooks the turkey (hey, they just don’t travel well). The rest of us split up the side dishes (I’m an expert potato masher). Anyone unable to do the cooking helps set the table and clean up. This year my brother-in-law showed new flashes of brilliance in turkey carving (hurray for the Food Channel!), so now we have a designated expert.

Simple, right? Bring on the leftovers! I think I’ll try a tasty, turkey smoothy (with a booster shot of cranberry sauce).

Related Links

Time Out! Productions

FreeRice.com – for each word you get right, they donate 10 grains of rice to end world hunger.

Quote of the Week

“I awoke this morning with devout thanksgiving for my friends, the old and the new.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

“It’s a ritual sacrifice, with pie.”

Anya, Buffy the Vampire Slayer


Leave a Reply