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 It is with heartfelt gratitude that I want to thank everyone who took part in this year’s 33rd Annual Bigelow Tea Community Challenge. When we started this year, we weren’t sure what our race was going to look like due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. We worked tirelessly to plan a safe event for our runners and staff, and when it became apparent that a live event wasn’t possible, we began diligently planning a virtual event that would keep the tradition of the BTCC going. We were committed to raising funds for the 23 non-profits we support.
What we could not have predicted in April was just how incredible the BTCC community would be in supporting this year’s event despite a fully virtual format. For all the work we put into this run, it is only through your support and commitment that this year’s event saw 362 participants from all over the country sign up and support the BTCC. You invited your friends, family, neighbors, and coworkers to join you. From Rhode Island to California, Idaho to South Carolina, we saw participants from 18 states sign up to walk, run and raise money for our community. While we couldn’t be together in person, you joined us in our online community by sharing your walks and runs on social media, and we loved seeing you share your BTCC pictures.
It is through the generosity of our sponsors, who continued their commitment to funding this event, and through the donations of individuals and the funds raised through registration, that we are thrilled to announce that we raised more funds for our charities this year than from any previous Bigelow Tea Community Challenge. That is a testament to all of you who participated through walking, running, sponsoring, or donating to our event this year, and we are so grateful.
We’re already busy planning next year’s Bigelow Tea Community Challenge, with the hope that we will once again be able to see all of you in person. However, we’ve recognized the far-reaching community of the BTCC and so we will be keeping our virtual run option as well for those who want to participate from outside of Connecticut. We hope you’ll join us again next year, and for those of you who can’t wait until 2021 to sign up, we’ve already opened registration for next year’s run on our website!  Thank you for being part of the BTCC community.
With deepest appreciation,
Cindi Bigelow & the Bigelow Tea Community Challenge Committee

The 2019 BTCC Charities
The 2019 BTCC Charities
1.       Bridge House
Using the "clubhouse model" for psychosocial rehabilitation, The Bridge House provides a positive, encouraging environment that helps persons with severe or persistent mental illness acquire the skills and confidence to develop meaningful relationships and live productive, satisfying lives.  In addition to comprehensive employment, education and outreach programs, three nutritional meals are prepared and served daily to members in a friendly, social atmosphere.

2.      Bridgeport Rescue Mission
Established in 1993, the Bridgeport Rescue Mission is a non-profit, faith-based organization committed to providing food, shelter, clothing, education, job training and residential discipleship for the urban poor and addicted. In 2010 it provided over 32,000 nights of shelter, 527,000 meals for guests and working poor, and 57,384 mobile kitchen meals.

3.       Burroughs Community Center
Originally the Burroughs Home assisted single women, many working in Bridgeport factories. In 1997, responding to community demands, it transformed itself into The Burroughs Community Center and offers a variety of youth and adult programs to Bridgeport constituents, providing educational, recreational, social, and economic tools needed to lead successful lives. In addition, the facility provides space and support to over 60 non-profits and community groups, bringing over 42,000 community members through its front door annually.

4.       Cardinal Shehan Center
The Cardinal Shehan Center is a non-profit organization located in Bridgeport, CT, that opened its doors in 1962.  Its mission is to enrich lives by offering a variety of programs and activities that address the educational, recreational, cultural, and social needs of moderate and low-income families and young people in lower Fairfield County.  It offers After School & Saturday Youth Development Programs, Summer Day Camp, basketball and softball leagues, Sign-Up Programs, and alternative education programs.

5.       Caroline House
Since 1995, its official opening, Caroline House has helped some of the poorest, most isolated women and children in Connecticut acquire the basic knowledge and skills they need to improve their own lives and the lives of their children.

6.      Center for Family Justice
With roots in the greater Bridgeport community dating back to 1895, the Center for Family Justice of Eastern Fairfield County has a long tradition of providing high quality support and services to women and families.   Its primary goal is to eliminate violence and abuse through education, intervention, advocacy, and community collaboration.  Among the many services it provides each year, it teaches more than 7,000 children and teens about preventing bullying, building healthy relationships, and preventing dating violence.  It trains more than 3,000 adults to prevent abuse and help victims, answers over 2,000 crisis calls on 24-hour crisis hotlines and provides a safe home for more than 100 women and their children fleeing domestic violence annually.

7.      CT Challenge
Since 2004, the Connecticut Challenge has been empowering cancer survivors throughout Connecticut to live healthier, happier and longer lives by creating and funding unique survivorship programs and research.  The many programs funded by the CT Challenge impact the lives of over 54,000 cancer survivors.

 8.     Connecticut Food Bank
Founded in 1982, Connecticut Food Bank is an affiliate of Feeding America, the nation's food bank network. Connecticut Food Bank is the largest centralized source of donated, emergency food in Connecticut. It provides food products to more than 650 soup kitchens, shelters, food pantries and child and adult day programs.  The Connecticut Food Bank uses the money it receives from the Bigelow Tea Community Challenge to supplement its ongoing distribution of donated food during the holiday season to 164 food pantries, soup kitchens, school and other programs in direct support of Fairfield County neighbors who have been adversely affected by rising costs and the economic downturn.

 9.    Bigelow Center for Senior Activities
In addition to offering daily lunches, health screenings and transportation services, the Fairfield Senior Center offers a broad spectrum of eldercare social services recreational and educational enrichment programs to area seniors.  For the latest news on Bigelow Center for Senior Activities

10.   Fairfield YMCA
Focused on building strong kids, strong families, strong communities, the Fairfield YMCA offers family programs, child care services and aquatic programs that nurture the healthy development of children, support families, and strengthen communities through quality, values-based programs and services.

11.   Grasmere on Park
A key resource for elders in the Fairfield County area, the Adult Day Center of The Jewish Home has over 30 years of experience providing day care, different levels of nursing services, rehabilitative therapies, care management, therapeutic recreation, socialization, and interactive programs to enrich the quality of life for participants and provides caregivers with respite support.

12.  Horizon’s at GFA
Horizons at Greens Farms Academy (GFA) helps underserved students from Bridgeport develop strong academic, social and emotional skills, habits of mind and the resilience to succeed in school and pursue a meaningful, choice-filled life.

13.   Janus Center for Youth in Crisis
The Janus Center primarily serves Greater Bridgeport youth who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless, who are not under the supervision of the CT Department of Children and Families (DCF) and would otherwise "slip through the cracks."  It assists youth facing serious problems with their families, schools or the juvenile court.  Its mobile intervention team supports the program's Safe Place network, maintains a 24-hour Youth In Crisis Hotline, and provides counseling and referrals to necessary services and short-term respite care to youth who cannot return home.

14.  McGivney Community Center
More than two decades ago, founding members of the McGivney Community Center looked at the streets of Bridgeport and saw that there was little or no hope of a bright future growing up on the East Side of Bridgeport. Jersey barriers were erected by the police to try to stem the flow of drugs into the neighborhood, gangs ruled the neighborhood and roamed the streets in search of young recruits. Today, the McGivney Community Center, is a vibrant, welcoming place where 400 youth come on a regular basis to engage in stimulating and enriching programs that foster academic success, self-esteem and nurture intellectual, creative, and physical growth. It offers after-school and evening programs during the school year and camps during the summer.

15.   Mercy Learning Center
Since 1987, Mercy Learning Center has provided basic literacy and life skills to low-income women in the greater Bridgeport area. As its motto "Educate a woman...Educate a family" demonstrates, the mission of the Center is to bring about a positive change to the problem of illiteracy, provide basic literacy and life skills training within a compassionate, supportive community. The Center's programs focus on empowering, and providing dignity, economic self-sufficiency and hope to the most vulnerable members of society by helping functionally illiterate women improve their skills and earning potential and create a more hopeful future for themselves and their children.

16.   Neighborhood Studios of Fairfield County - formerly Music and Art Center for the Humanity
The Neighborhood Studios/Music and Arts Center for Humanity is a non-profit community school of the arts that for 30 years has enlisted the universal language of the arts to promote tolerance and understanding. Its creative approach serves children and adults with special needs, and others who may benefit with educational programs and services that inspire them take an active role in the community.

17.   Norma F. Pfriem Breast Center
The Norma F. Pfriem Breast Center is a fully accredited facility recognized for its extensive range of support services providing quality care for all patients, including a large underserved population.  In addition to offering medical counseling, surgery, breast surgery, general surgery and education, the center promotes overall health to its patients by offering yoga, massage, mental health counseling, naturopathic medicine, nutrition counseling and Pilates.

18.   Operation Hope
Operation Hope was formed in 1986 when local residents became aware of individuals in the community unable to meet their own basic needs of food and shelter. Today it continues to provide the opportunity for individuals and families experiencing transformative change by addressing basic needs for food, shelter, and by offering long-term solutions to hunger and homelessness, affordable housing, life skills training and personalized clinical support.

19. Pivot Ministries
Founded in 1970, Pivot Ministries is a faith-based residential treatment program for men located in Bridgeport and Norwalk.  Pivot is a non-profit agency that focuses on treating drug and alcohol addiction as a spiritual problem and returning the men to their families usefully whole.

20.   Sandcastle Playground
Built in 1996 entirely by the creativity, determination and efforts of Cindi Bigelow, friends and 2,500 community volunteers, Sandcastle Playground is a large, wooden village playground at Jennings Beach, Fairfield that continues to be a focal point for children in the Fairfield community.

21.   Wakeman Boys and Girls Club
A hub of activity year-round, the core of this center's mission is to enhance the physical, social, and emotional development of area youth through athletic programs, activities and summer programs that promote a foundation for sound citizenship.

22.  YMCA Taylor Community Center
The mission of the Ralphola Taylor Community Center YMCA is to build strong kids, strong families and a strong community by offering high quality, diverse, responsive and innovative programs and services. Conveniently located in the heart of Bridgeport, the programs aim to improve the quality of life and develop the economic self-sufficiency of low-income children and their parents.
23. YMCA Camp Hi Rock
A favorite destination for dozens of area boys and girls through the years, Camp Hi-Rock is a YMCA summer camp nestled in 1,000 acres of the Berkshire Mountains where campers escape city life and learn to act as stewards, not only of the camp’s natural setting, but of the global environment in which they live. 
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