Move for Meals skates in a new direction

Jessica Richards started Move for Meals, and looking to the future hopes to keep it moving.

The organization skates in a new direction Sunday, March 17, with “Move for Meals on Ice,” a fund-raising event at The Rinks at the Connecticut Sports Center in Shelton.

Seeing a homeless, hungry person in New York City fueled the desire to help others in young Jessica.

But the spark was there. Jessica’s mother, Rebecca, is joined by her mother, Linda Stein of Westport, and sister, Sara Stein Lichtman of New York, in benefit walks and other charitable pursuits.

With her mother, Jessica volunteers at the Food Bank’s Fairfield location the first Wednesday of each month.

Jessica’s younger sister, Lizzie, also helps with Move for Meals.

“We’re very fortunate to be healthy and have good jobs and be able to provide for our families,” said Rebecca, adding that it’s important to teach children to reach out to others less fortunate.

Before Move for Meals, Jessica donated hair to Locks of Love.

Collecting for the Food Bank

Wanting to do more than a once-a-month visit to the Food Bank, Jessica came up with the idea of Move for Meals, which has been held at the Navasky Religious School at Congregation Beth El in Norwalk.

A room is set aside, and Jessica and others walk, dance and keep moving to collect money for the Food Bank. “I’m a dancer,” she said.

“I’m always moving because it’s in my blood,” added Jessica, who studies dance at D’Valda and Sirico’s Dance and Music Centre in Fairfield. She’s also a member of the chamber choir and takes chorus at her school.

How donations help

The first Move for Meals raised $1,200. The amount climbed to $1,700 in the second year and $2,000 for the third event. The total dipped in the fourth year, which occurred shortly after Hurricane Sandy, but 500 pounds of food was collected.

“Food donations are always helpful,” Rebecca said.

“One dollar can buy three meals,” Jessica said of the multiplying power of the Food Bank’s purchasing.

Move for Meals is now her bat mitzvah project, with Jessica’s coming in November. “I don’t want to do a food drive that people do one day and it’s over,” Jessica said. “I want it to keep moving.”

Fund-raising event specifics

“Move for Meals on Ice” will take place Sunday, March 17 from 1 to 2:45 p.m. at The Rinks at the Connecticut Sports Center, 784 River Road (Route 110), Shelton. Admission and skate rental combined cost $10 per person, with a discount of $30 for a family of four.

“We are appreciative of the generosity of The Rinks at Shelton at the Connecticut Sports Center,” said Rebecca Richards, Jessica’s mother.

To register or obtain more information, email Checks should be made payable to the “Connecticut Food Bank.”