Hampden County sheriff restarts 5K fundraiser in Holyoke for trafficking victims

  • Ashley Reservoir in Holyoke CITY OF HOLYOKE

Staff Writer
Published: 10/17/2019 11:59:42 AM
Modified: 10/17/2019 11:59:32 AM

HOLYOKE — For the first time since 2014, the Hampden County Sheriff’s Department is bringing back a 5K run and 1.5-mile walk to raise money for victims of human trafficking in western Massachusetts.

Called the “Sheriff’s Shuffle,” the 3.1-mile race will start at 10 a.m. on Nov. 3 at the Ashley Reservoir. Money raised during the event this year will benefit the YWCA of Western Massachusetts and its mission of aiding victims of human trafficking.

“Human trafficking is a real problem and unfortunately, it has been on the rise here over the past few years. I’m proud of the work the department is doing to fight the traffickers and help the victims,” Hampden County Sheriff Nicholas Cocchi said in a statement. “The money raised through the resurrected Sheriff’s Shuffle will help the YWCA assist the victims who face a variety of challenges when trying to start a new life.”

Online registration ahead of the race costs $35, but participants can register the day of the race beginning at 8:30 a.m. for $40. Following the race, there will be entertainment in the Elks Lodge, including refreshments, awards, a raffle, and live entertainment.

A spokesman for Cocchi’s office, Stephen O’Neil, said the run became defunct after 2014 as the construction of MGM Springfield forced the relocation of the department’s Western Mass Recovery and Wellness Center — the former starting point of the race. Before that, the fundraiser had been going for more than a decade and would run through the south end of Springfield, O’Neil said.

Since taking office in 2017, Cocchi has directed Lt. Tara Kelliher to work with federal agents in the investigation of human trafficking cases, as well as instructing Victim Services Coordinator Monica Dominique to aid victims in bettering their lives, according to the sheriff’s office. 

Michael Connors can be reached at mconnors@gazettenet.com. 

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