For fourteen years the Hartwell Lake Charity Run benefiting Meals on Wheels-Anderson has been the highlight of the summer boating season in our area. This year’s event was held June 8-10 at the Green Pond Landing and Event Center and boaters from all over the Southeast visited five scenic lake locations to collect stop tickets. This event is a unique and fun way to combine our proximity to the lake with an opportunity for boating enthusiasts to raise funds to provide meals for the senior and disabled homebound residents of Anderson.
Originally organized by the Hartwell Lake Sail and Power Squadron in the Summer of 1999, low water levels in 2008 forced cancellation of the event, and the Sail and Power Squadron decided not to renew it for 2009. Meals on Wheel-Anderson had become a recipient of funds raised by the event, and being a lake lover herself, Laurie Ashely, Executive Director of Meals on Wheel-Anderson sought to hold the event in 2010. Ashley, along with boating enthusiast Terry Young, brought together a group of friends and business associates, including Todd Campbell and Doug Curry, to hold the event. Since 2010, a committee comprised of Ashley, Meals on Wheels-Anderson staff, Young, Campbell, and Curry plan and direct the event each year.
The Hartwell Lake Charity Run is a weekend full of events. The Thursday night VIP “Social on the Green” event, held at Green Pond Landing, offers catered food, drinks, and live acoustic music. This year the band was the Eric Scott Band. This is a relaxed atmosphere where Charity Run participants meet, greet, and reconnect.
On Friday morning there is a Fun Run event for boaters to cruise the lake and enjoy time with their friends and family, especially those from out of town. The boaters go to Clemson Marina or Hartwell Marina for lunch and then raft up at the well-known Party Island for a few hours during the afternoon. The fun continues into the evening with the Friday night Street Party that begins with a presentation of colors from the Coast Guard. There are food trucks, live and silent auctions, product vendors, a beautiful Hartwell Lake sunset, and live music. This year’s Street Party band was The Vinyl Junkies.
Saturday is the main event starting with the Boat Blast-Off from the Double Bridges area. Boaters go around the lake to various stops and gather coupons. They bring the coupons back to trade in for drawing tickets to enter a drawing for cash prizes.
“We have to play it a little differently due to SC laws against gambling. Our version is to have boats go around Hartwell Lake and get Stop Coupons that they trade in for raffle tickets. We then do 1st-3rd prize drawings at 4pm on Saturday,” says Josh Overstreet, Development Associate at Meals on Wheels-Anderson.
This year’s Hartwell Lake Charity Run raised $103,000, the most raised at this event to date. All the fun, food, music, and generosity help Meals on Wheels to further their mission of delivering hope to Anderson’s senior and disabled homebound residents through meal delivery and interaction that nourishes their physical and emotional needs.
“Having grown up on Lake Murray, I have always loved boating and the camaraderie that being on the water brings. The fact that these folks can join together something they love with supporting the mission of Meals on Wheels-Anderson, makes it extra special for me,” says Laurie Ashley, Executive Director of Meals on Wheels-Anderson.
If you would like to support this cause by entering next year’s Hartwell Lake Charity Run, the cost for boaters to enter is $100 for online pre-registration and onsite registration the weekend of the event is $125. You can find out the date of next year’s event by checking the Meals on Wheels-Anderson website at https://acmow.org.
If you would like to support Meals on Wheels-Anderson throughout the year, they are always in need of Drivers and Kitchen volunteers. Driver routes are available throughout the entire Anderson County area. To volunteer, email your interest to [email protected] or visit the website to sign up for a route.
You can learn more about Meals on Wheels-Anderson, events, and volunteer opportunities by following them on Instagram at @mealsonwheelsanderson or on Facebook at Meals on Wheels – Anderson.