Paddlers for Humanity 2020 Crosses the Finish Line for a Good Cause

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Photo: Courtesy Paddlers For Humanity

Paddlers for Humanity, a volunteer organization based in East Hampton, has launched its 2020 challenge, called #ChallengeYourself. The initiative is meant to raise money for comprehensive mental health programs for kids and youth, as well as support families impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.

Each summer Paddlers for Humanity hosts its Block Challenge, an 18-mile open ocean paddle from Montauk to Block Island. This year that has been canceled due to COVID-19 and in its place the organization is inviting participants to #ChallengeYourself individually through paddling, swimming, running, biking, walking. Progress is tracked on the Strava app

Participants are encouraged to raise $1,500, which will fund mental health focused causes such as the Positive Behavioral Intervention Supports program by the Bridgehampton School, Callen-Lorde Health Outreach for Teens Program, Family Service League, i-tri, Project Most and The Retreat, as well as the P4H Catastrophic Fund which is providing ongoing support to individuals and families during the COVID-19 pandemic. The P4H Catastrophic Fund has donated to East End Food Pantries, Eleanor Whitmore Early Childhood Center and OLA of Eastern Long Island.

“This year everyone is challenged in ways that we never expected, including Paddlers for Humanity,” says P4H co-chair Fred Doss. “We determined early on that organizing the Block Challenge paddle did not seem like a responsible idea. With that in mind, we’re attempting to pivot to #ChallengeYourself, an opportunity for people to still engage in activities, reach out to friends and family and do some fundraising. The organizations and the people who we have supported over the years have greater needs than ever due to the pandemic and due to the fact that fundraising has been reduced. It’s up to us to continue to support those organizations and individuals who have relied on us.”

The original paddle took place in August 2005 when a group of 19 fishermen, surfers and other locals paddled from the Montauk to Block Island. Since then, the foundation has raised $1.94 million.

The challenge will finish on Saturday, August 29, with a final challenge and celebration. There will be a Zoom party to announce top fundraisers, share stories and celebrate.

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