Realtor® and runner Dave Fleisher gets ready for the start of the Keys 100 event in May 2019.
BOYNTON BEACH, Fla. – Wanting to do something to support the community during the coronavirus pandemic, David Fleisher, a broker-associate with CENTURY 21 Stein Posner in Boynton Beach, reached out to the hospitals in West Boynton to see if he could volunteer.
“At the time, it was early in the pandemic and they didn’t really know what could be done,” he says. Rather than wait to help, Fleisher changed course and decided to start a virtual event to raise money for Feeding America. The non-profit consists of a national network of more than 200 food banks that feed more than 46 million people through food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters, and other community-based agencies.
“I was out on a run, when I thought, ‘why not schedule a virtual run?’” he says.
Fleisher understands what can happen in hard times. “In 2009, after the real estate market crashed, I was heavily invested in commercial real estate and went completely broke,” he recalls. “At the time, I was trying to figure out how to put food on the table. I was fortunate to have friends help me out. I didn’t have to go to a food bank. What happened with my family can happen to anyone, and that’s why I ultimately chose Feeding America.”
The idea that others may be struggling to put food on the table due to the COVID-19 pandemic, much like he was during the Great Recession, hit home.
That was the inspiration for the Virtual Run to Feed America 5K. Fleisher set up a Facebook event and page and started a RunSignUp account.
He explains, “People could register and donate at the same time. The site collects the funds and sends them directly to Feeding South Florida, which is the charity we designated. Since it’s not an in-person event, we set the run time for 9 a.m. in each runner’s respective time zone. People could walk, run, stroll, whatever they wanted to do. We also had a place to track times via a FitBit or Garmin so people could compete if they chose.”
The free event was held on May 9, 2020.
“We had 293 official registrations and raised more than $6,800,” he says.
Fleisher relied on word of mouth, Facebook advertising, and Instagram posts to get the word out about the virtual run.
“I paid for the public relations and Facebook post boosts out of my own pocket,” he says. “Runners participated from all over the country. We had runners as far away as California. Families signed up, teams signed up, it was amazing.”
With one successful event under his belt, Fleisher would like to make this a yearly event.
“I love Feeding America. It’s a great organization, so making this a regular event would be wonderful. That’s my goal,” he says.
Want to know more about Feeding America? Go to https://www.feedingamerica.org/