As the director of the Marana Community Food Bank, Linda Hampton consistently sees how generous her community is, so it was no surprise when more than 1,200 people showed up to participate in the town’s Second Annual Marana Winterfest, presented by St. Anthony Media on Feb. 23.
The event, designed to raise money and food for the food bank, saw strong results, with more than $7,000 donated.
“I’m in awe,” said Hampton. “We are a small food bank, and the word ‘community’ is in our name for a reason. We can’t do this without our community’s support. I’m thrilled with the outcome.”
The Winterfest featured a car show, food vendors, raffles, special guest appearances and more.
Mike Witt, director of St. Anthony Media said this year’s participation was significantly better than last year.
“When you go from 200 participants last year to about 1,200 this year, and from 12 members last year to 60 this year, that’s a pretty big improvement,” he said.
Witt decided to help sponsor the event when he heard that it would not have otherwise occurred this year.
The Marana Winterfest was initiated two years ago when Canyon Community Bank and Citizens Insurance Group came together and formed a committee with the goal of benefiting the food bank.
Also involved in the Winterfest for the second year, and helping raise money, was marathon runner Dan Heston, who showed his support and encouraged donations when he ran for 12 hours straight, managing a total of 55 miles in that time span.
“It was absolutely inspirational,” said Hampton.
Heston, who has been involved in distance running since he was a child, personally formed Footfalls For Food in 2010, a one-man operation with the intent of running to raise money for the food bank.
In his first year, Heston raised money through public donations when he ran between 400 and 500 miles in preparation for a marathon. This year, he decided to do things a little bit differently.
“I thought why not do it all in one day,” said Heston. And Heston did just that, running from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m., stopping only for food and water, but never for more than three to four minutes at a time.
The amount of money raised by Heston’s efforts is still being calculated as more pledges continue to be counted, though Heston said as of last Tuesday, about $4,300 had been accounted for.
Witt is hoping to make next year’s Winterfest even bigger. In addition to this year’s festivities, Witt aims to add helicopters and tanks to the car show next year.
“We anticipate having 3,000 people next year,” said Witt.
Heston said he would also be running in next year’s event.
For more information on the Marana Winterfest, contact Mike Witt at 744-1800, Kathy Miller at Canyon Community Bank at 544-2900, or Dan Heston at footfallsforfood.org.