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Marathon cardio session to benefit local food shelf

Anytime Fitness is holding a food drive in February, but it’s not just the typical bring a nonperishable food item to benefit the local food shelf and be on your way.

Along with donating, members of the community will be invited to participate in a 24-hour cardio marathon at the Tamarack Hills location in Woodbury.

The food drive runs through Feb. 20, but from 8 a.m. on Feb. 11 to 8 a.m. the next day, cardio machines will run nonstop encouraging volunteers to sign up for half hour slots.

“We have 12 cardio items, it’s my hope that we have all of them running,” general manager Sindy Graham said.

Graham has organized a similar food drive at her former location in Albert Lea, Minn., and decided to continue the tradition when she moved to manage the Woodbury location.

“It was really great until about 2 o’clock in the morning,” she said. “And then about 2 a.m. for whatever reason I found myself doing the cardio myself.”

Graham was inspired by Jim Brickson, a captain who rung bells for the Salvation Army for 120 hour straight in Albert Lea last year.

Every time she’d go to check and see if he was still out there collecting donations, Graham would be surprised to see Brickson.

“I was stunned because he was still ringing the bells,” she said. “And yeah, he made a record. Pretty awesome.”

Graham then solicited his help in organizing a food drive in Woodbury, and learned that February is always a tough time for food shelves across the country and it’s also a time when many people face high utility bills and don’t have enough cash on hand to buy food.

“February is a critical month for most food shelves and they find themselves very empty during that time,” Graham said. “Hunger, it doesn’t just happen during the holidays and that’s when most of us are inspired and inclined to help the food shelves. But hunger is 365 days a year for some people.”

The gym will accept donations throughout the month to benefit the Christian Cupboard Emergency Food Shelf.

Those interested in the 24-hour cardio marathon can bring two nonperishable food items and call the gym to sign up to work out for 30 minutes on one of the machines.

Graham said it’ll be challenging to get enough people to sign up to keep all the machines running for a full 24 hours, but the goal is to have at least one machine going in order for the food drive to be successful.

“To run 12 machines, 24 hours it’s going to take some people,” she said. “But it’s our hope in doing so we’re going to have a really rock solid food drive for the Christian Cupboard here in Woodbury.”

Riham Feshir
Riham Feshir is a reporter and photographer for the Woodbury Bulletin. Her coverage includes Woodbury City Hall, Washington County Board of Commissioners and business news.  Follow Riham on Twitter @RihamFeshir for the latest updates.