Community pitches in after All Out Adventures kayaks stolen

  • About 55 people depart from the Hatfield public boat ramp on the Connecticut River Sept. 24, 2017 in the All Out Adventures Kayak-a-thon, which raised money for the nonprofit organization. STAFF FILE PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

Staff Writer
Published: 7/11/2019 4:11:54 PM
Modified: 7/10/2019 8:00:00 AM

NORTHAMPTON — The theft of two kayaks from a local nonprofit has been mitigated thanks to an impromptu fundraiser.

On Monday, All Out Adventures, a Northampton-based nonprofit that provides outdoors experiences to groups that include veterans, the disabled and senior citizens, discovered that two of the 13 kayaks it had stored at the Northampton Community Rowing Boathouse were missing.

“It was shocking to all of us,” said Karen Foster, executive director of All Out Adventures.

Northampton Police, which is investigating the theft, said Tuesday that there are currently no witnesses or suspects in the case, and that the value of the kayaks is $2,000.

Foster said the kayaks were tied up in addition to being secured with metal rings and a cable lock. She said that two of the kayaks at the scene were untied, while two were missing. She also said that the metal rings from the missing kayaks could not be found.

The missing kayaks in question are red Wilderness Systems Pungo 120s.

Monday was the start of All Out Adventure’s summer programming with the kayaks, and although Foster said there were enough kayaks to run Monday’s program, organizers were considering telling people signed up for Thursday’s programming that they didn’t have enough kayaks for everyone.

All Out Adventures recently announced it was having financial difficulties.

“Finances have been really tight,” said Foster, who called the timing of the theft really difficult.

All Out Adventures proceeded to post about the missing kayaks on the Connecticut River Rats Wmass Chapter page, at the suggestion of a police officer. The page is an open forum focused on the Connecticut River from the Holyoke Dam to the Sunderland Bridge.

Then something unexpected happened: Mark Britton, an administrator for the page and its founder, set up a fundraiser to replace the kayaks.

“Which is amazing,” Foster said.

As of Tuesday afternoon, it has already surpassed $600 raised on the way to a $2,000 goal.

Britton said he set the fundraiser up because he didn’t think it likely the kayaks would be recovered and that it would probably be a “tough bind” for All Out Adventures to have them replaced.

“We’re a pretty generous group of people,” Britton said.

Replacing the two kayaks, Foster said, “would have been a real hardship.”

Now, All Out Adventures will be buying replacement kayaks from another organization Wednesday in time for them to be used for Thursday’s programming.

“It’s a good cause,” Britton said. “I like to see all walks of life out on the river.”

Those wishing to donate to the fundraiser can do so on Facebook.

Although he started the fundraiser and donated to it, Britton credited people in the community.

“They’re the ones that are making it happen,” he said.

In terms of All Out Adventures’ future, Foster said it has received a lot of community support.

“I feel like we’re headed in a solid direction,” she said.

In addition to donations to the organization, Foster said that someone has been volunteering to do office work and another person is helping the nonprofit to find new office space.

Bera Dunau can be reached at bdunau@gazettenet.com.

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