Thousands in West Bloomfield Sunday said goodbye to summer and hello to the Jewish New Year at the annual Walk4Friendship event.
The seventh-annual fundraiser to benefit the Friendship Circle featured up to and beyond 5,000 people — many as a part of organized efforts which had been working for months — marching from to the , in either a 5K or one-mile walk.
Friendship Circle founder Bassie Shemtov said that Walk4Friendship exceeded previous participation records and financial benchmarks. Prior to the Walk Sunday, teams had raised close to $450,000 to benefit programs and activities at Friendship Circle.
Despite threats of storms and rain, a family carnival at the JCC afterward stayed dry. With various local television stations assigning trucks to the event, the event obviously marked an opportunity for participants, volunteers, and organizers involved with Friendship Circle to bring its good cause out for the public to see.
"It just warms my heart to see the community come together for a common cause and to see so many familiar faces," said Rebecca Hayman of West Bloomfield, a former volunteer with the organization, which started in 1994.
"It's an important cause and it's important to have our children involved."
According to organizers, the event raises one-third of the Friendship Circle operating budget.
Friendship Circle is a non-profit organization that provides programs and support to the families of individuals with special needs. For more information, visit its website.