New Brunswick, NJ - The Affinity Federal Credit Union Big Chill – 5K, which will be held on Sunday December 8 this year, is a unique charity event that has grown to be much more than just a race. For eleven years Rutgers Recreation along with New Brunswick Recreation, has asked the participants to bring a new toy for a child between the ages of 3 and 14, as opposed to a standard entrance fee. This has resulted in the departments being able to donate almost 50,000 toys to the children in Central Jersey over the lifetime of the event.
The Big Chill has become one of the largest run/walk 5ks in New Jersey and is considered by many to be one of the best-conducted events in the tri-state area. Last year’s 10th anniversary race saw record breaking numbers with more than 8,000 participants who donated 10,000 plus toys. The race committee is hoping to match those numbers again in 2013. They will also be selling the 5,000 yards of the 3.2 miles for $1.00 to purchase children’s winter coats. Yards can be purchased through the administrative offices at Rutgers Recreation, online at recreation.rutgers.edu or from the Piscataway and Edison branches of Affinity Credit Union.
What makes this charity event so successful is the outpouring of support from University students and residents from all over New Jersey who get up early on a cold December morning to run or walk through the streets of New Brunswick to help children have a good holiday. Rutgers students find money in their tight budgets to buy a toy for a child who might otherwise go through the holiday season empty handed.
The toys that are collected are wrapped by hundreds of volunteers the Monday after the race and distributed to many charities that serve needy children. In the past The American Red Cross, Children’s Specialized Hospital, and the New Brunswick Housing Authority have been among the recipients.