Zumba to benefit backpack food program

By Andy Winemiller - awinemiller@s24476.p831.sites.pressdns.com

Local residents can get some exercise and help feed needy children at an event sponsored by Northern Wellness and Fitness Center.

On Jan. 21 Northern Fitness Center will host a Zumbathon at 9 a.m. The event is expected to last about two hours. Admission to the event is three non-perishable and kid-friendly food items, which will be donated to the backpack food program of the Mount Airy City Schools.

The program sends a backpack filled with food home with children every Friday. During the week, schools can supplement a child’s diet through free or reduced breakfasts and lunches, and this program fills in the gaps on weekends.

Denise Sawyers, who instructs Zumba at multiple locations throughout Surry County, said she will be joined by four other instructors for what she hopes is a big hit of an event. Though it is the first time Northern has been involved in a Zumbathon for the backpack program, it won’t be the first time Sawyers has held such an event.

“It is probably my favorite charity,” said Sawyers of the Hungry Bears program in explaining she has held three prior events at other venues.

The events are usually well-attended, she noted, with about 100 people at each gathering. She hopes the involvement of the hospital will help bolster numbers.

The program is open to all, and nobody should be intimidated, said Sawyers.

“It’s something anyone can do because you are just repeating the same simple moves,” explained Sawyers. “It’s easy to follow.”

Some light snacks will be provided, and there will be opportunities to earn prizes, added Sawyers. Child care will also be available at the facility.

“It’s just going to be a big party for a good cause,” said Sawyers. “People just need to bring themselves and three food items.”

According to Carrie Venable, the city school public information officer, the backpack food program serves about 165 students in the district. It started in 2010 with then-fourth-grader Elizabeth Marion. Marion is now a junior at Mount Airy High School.

The fitness center is located at 280 North Pointe Blvd. in Mount Airy. No reservations are necessary to attend the event.

By Andy Winemiller


Andy is a staff writer and may be reached at 415-4698.

Andy is a staff writer and may be reached at 415-4698.

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