GREENFIELD – The Greenfield Tae Kwon Do Center on Federal Street is aiming to break a grand total of $ 100,000 raised for Warm the Children over the 19 consecutive years of its break-athon.
This year’s break-athon fundraiser will take place on Saturday, November 20 at 9 a.m. at the tae kwon do studio. The public is invited to stop, watch the students smash the nearly 2,000 boards and donate to Warm the Children, the Greenfield Recorder-supervised charity that helps provide warm clothing for families. in need of Franklin County and North Quabbin area. .
The Greenfield Tae Kwon Do Center began hosting the break-athon for Warm the Children in 2002. According to owner and instructor David Johnson, the center has since raised a total of $ 95,854.
Checks can be made payable to “Warm the Children” and mailed to the Greenfield Tae Kwon Do Center at 102 Federal St. to support the total dojo fundraising. Donations can be made as one-time lump sum donations or by pledging a small amount per broken board.
The studio’s 2021 countdown fundraiser officially began with collections for a demonstration at the Great Falls Festival, formerly known as Pumpkin Fest, in Turners Falls in October.
“The break-athon is next,” Johnson said. “We hope that with pledges and lump sum donations, we will be very successful. “
Instructor John Iverson estimated that the dojo has nearly 1,800 1-inch-thick boards that the nearly 20 participating students must break. Usually, techniques for breaking planks are not taught until students have completed their first major promotion, but break-athon is a special event where even the youngest learn how to properly break planks so that they can to participate.
“They learn how to do it safely and get a good feel for what happens in later development if they stick to taekwondo,” instructor Charlotte Gifford said.
Speaking in a class this week, almost all of the students said they had taken the break-athon before. All of the students were aware of how the Warm the Children fundraiser benefits their community.
“It’s to warm the kids – it’s on his behalf,” said Sam Edson, 7.
He is participating for the first time with his twin brother, Lucas, and their older brother, James.
“I think it’s really great that kids can help out just by breaking boards,” said 11-year-old James Edson. “It’s amazing, and really, really kind and heartwarming.”
Peter Harrington, 49, said he had been a member of the Greenfield Tae Kwon Do Center for more than 20 years. However, this is his first time participating in fundraising, as he has been away for the past 26 years while serving in the military, from which he recently retired.
“I followed Warm the Children when this happened, and for me this is a very exciting opportunity to give back to children in need,” said Harrington. “Growing up myself as one of those kids who needed warm clothes and couldn’t afford it, this is a great opportunity for me to give back.”
Nicholas Constantine, 12, said this was his third year at the break-athon.
“The fact that we’ve raised almost $ 100,000 for Warm the Children is amazing,” said Nicholas. “Even during COVID last year, we were still able to help a bit. I’ve learned over the years that it’s not about the money; it is about the children.
After the planks are broken on Nov. 20, Johnson said, the pieces of wood are packaged and sold for use as kindling in wood stoves at $ 5 a bag. This money also benefits Warm the Children. Kindling bags can be reserved now by calling the studio at 413-774-5395.
“We are really looking forward to generating as much money as possible for the kids,” Johnson said.
One of the most exciting aspects of the annual fundraiser, Johnson continued, is seeing young children working hard to earn money to support other children in need.
“I don’t know how it can get better than that,” he said.
To send a tax-deductible donation, checks can be made payable to “Warm the Children” c / o The Greenfield Recorder, PO Box 1367, Greenfield, MA 01301. Donations sent directly to the Recorder will go to Warm the Children , but not counted in the Greenfield Tae Kwon Do Center fundraising tally.
Zack DeLuca can be reached at [email protected] or 413-930-4579.