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A virtual movement to help street vendors restart their lives post the COVID-19 pandemic

United Way Chennai organised Run United 2020 – a virtual marathon fundraiser from October 2 – October 11, 2020. United Way Chennai carried out the campaign, #UnitedForStreetVendors to help street vendors who are affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and it raised around 30 Lakhs which will be used to support nearly 700 families to restart their business.

Over 1000 people from across the globe participated by running/walking/cycling in their own neighbourhood, clocking a whopping 29753 km over 10 days. Participants tracked their progress daily using fitness apps of their choice.

We’re grateful for the overwhelming support we have received from all sections of society. This virtual marathon is a testimonial to United Way’s philosophy that “To live better, we must Live United”. Corporates, individuals, fitness influencers, and celebrities have come together to help us raise 30+ Lakhs which will be used to support nearly 700 families.”, said Mrs.Meenakshi Ramesh, Executive Director of United Way Chennai.

Mr Felix John, popularly known as the Bicycle Mayor of Chennai said, “In these dire times, any initiative to ease the financial burden of families and help them make ends meet is welcome. It felt great to know that this was initiated in Chennai. What I liked the most about the cause was the freedom to contribute as less or as more as we’d like while doing our day to day fitness activity.

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Many leading celebrities including SuriyaSivakumar, DulquerSalmaan, Samantha Ruth Prabhu, and Arvind Swamivoiced their support for the initiative. Many corporate organizations too came forward to pledge their support including CholamandalamInvestment & Finance, Hercules Cycles, Access Healthcare, Scientific Games, Hatsun Yoghurt Shakes, L&T Construction &CavinKare.

Over the last 5 months, the NGO has supported more than 750+ families through a variety of activities such as crowdfunding, corporate giving and virtual events such as a stand-up comedy show called Laugh Out on Lockdown.

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