The recent "Wipe Out COVID-19 5K Virtal Run" was a big success.

"It far surpassed our wildest dreams," said co-organizers Anna Banks and Teri Schunk.  The event rasied over $17,000 to assist small businesses under the umbrella of the new organization "4Towns Forward."

"The idea behind '4Towns Forward" was the concept of security in numbers.  All four of our local communities are hurting during these troubled times.  Many small businesses in Afton, Bainbridge, Sidney and Unadilla are either closed or working on a modified condition.  Many people have found themselves out of work.  So, we thought this "virtual 5K" would be a great way to raise money to give back to these towns."

Banks, owner of My Home Gym in Bainbridge, said, "I was so pleased to have my business be the lead sponsor of this effort.  It took a lot of work, time, effort and sweat equity to pull it all together but we did it and we could not be happier with the result."

Schunk, president of the Sidney Chamber of Commerce, said, "399 people registered for the event and several others simply made monetary donations.  The response from the locals and especially the alumni from our schools from all over the country was terrific.  We were able to make over 50 donations to area businesses of varying sizes.  We purchased 217 gift cards, which really helped a lot of them out.  And of course the people who then won the cards were thrilled."

The group also wrote out checks to various community entities such as the Bianbridge community center/scout house, the Sidney library, the Unadilla food pantry, the Afton Community Theater and others."

Schunk added, "we are especially pleased that we were able to provide a $500 scholarship to a graduating senior from each of the town's high schools.  We directed that the scholarship be given to a senior who "best exemplifies volunteerism, community inbvolvemnent and a committment to the betterment of the community they come from."

When asked if they would be doing this event again in the future, both Banks and Schunk answered in unison.  "Yes, we can't wait to go bigger and better with this next year!"