‘Raising the dough for Great Harvest’ scheduled for Nov. 23 at MCC

By Corey AmEnde - Staff Writer
Regional - posted Fri., Nov. 15, 2013
A Zumbathon to raise funds for the Great Harvest Bread Company will be held on Saturday, Nov. 23, at Manchester Community College. Contributed photo. - Contributed Photo

While firefighters were still working to put out the Oct. 12 fire on Main Street that destroyed the building housing Great Harvest Bread Company, Joanne Britton had already made the decision that she would do something to help. “Before I even got up from my chair from the 11 o’clock news, I knew I was going to do something for them,” said Britton, “because, how could I not? They’re my good friends.”
It didn't take long for Britton, who has been friends with owners Dale and Jean Roberts and their daughter Melanie Dunn for five years, to decide how she could help.

“Of course I’m going to do Zumba®. They love Zumba,” said Britton, the assistant director of fitness, intramurals and recreation at Manchester Community College  and a licensed Zumba instructor.  “That’s how I met them,” she said.

As a way to raise money for Great Harvest Bread Company, Britton has organized a Zumbathon fundraiser for Nov. 23 at Manchester Community College. The slogan for the event is, “Raising the dough and raising the roof!”

The fundraiser begins at 5 p.m. with a Zumba event for kids until 5:30 p.m. There will also be face painting for the children.  From 5:30 to 6 p.m. there is walk-in registration. The adult Zumbathon starts at 6 p.m. and runs until 7:30 p.m. and the night concludes with a raffle at 7:30 p.m. The master of ceremonies for the raffle is Gina J from 96.5 TIC FM.

Tickets are $20 in advance for adults and $10 in advance for children and can be purchased at https://www.eventbrite.com/event/8941541931.  You can also purchase tickets at the door for $25 for adults and $15 for children. All participants will receive a t-shirt.
The event is taking place in the Great Path Academy Gym at Manchester Community College.

“Zumba, it’s a party,” said Britton. “It’s really easy formatted steps. It’s like a mix of fitness and dance-based kind of motions. They’re really pretty simple and anybody can do it.”

The adult Zumbathon will be led by 12 licensed instructors that will rotate time as the lead. “The instructors don’t talk. They’re not wearing microphones,” said Britton. “You just follow them and you mirror them.”

The Zumba instructors and the disc jockey for the night, DJ Tommy D from Tower Suite Productions, are all donating their time.
The event sponsors are Great Harvest Bread Company corporate offices, Manchester Community College, Zumba Fitness, LLC, Staples, Highland Park Market, John Alves Graphics and DJ Tommy D and Tower Suite Productions.

Britton said that Jean and Melanie frequently participated in Zumba classes together, “at least a couple of times a week,” and described them as genuinely nice people. “I would say they are like the salt of the earth people,” said Britton. “If you think of the finest people you know, the Roberts family is in there. They don’t say no to anyone, and it’s so evident the way this thing all came together so easy.”

Britton said people have been very receptive and willing to help out this fundraiser, even people that didn’t know the Roberts family.  One such person handed one of Britton’s Zumba instructors a sealed envelope with $60 in it.

As a friend of the family and life-long resident of Manchester, Britton said it means a lot to her to organize this event to help Great Harvest Bread Company. “The logistics part is that I hope to put a few thousand dollars into their hands that’s going to secure them the ability to start over.  But the other part is more of an emotional thing, I think,” said Britton.

“I think all of Manchester was just so sad when that historic building burned, and they know the Roberts family,” said Britton. “There’s a lot of sadness with a fire like that. It’s a terrible tragedy and they need something happy and fun in their life, and we’re going to have fun that night. I’ve talked to Jean several times since the fire. She’s hurting; it’s not an easy thing to live through.”

For more information, contact Britton at zumbajo.britton@gmail.com. 


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