Mighty Mac Swimmers Give Back To The Mackinac Straits Community

Courtesy of Jim Dreyer, St. Ignace, Michigan.

Like tens of thousands of swims around the world, the Mighty Mac Swim race course will be empty this summer.

Swimmers who were to participate in the cancelled Mighty Mac Swim have donated their entry fee refunds to raise over US$6,000 for pandemic relief efforts. The donation has been directed toward serving urgent needs in the St. Ignace and Mackinaw City communities that host the annual race between Michigan’s peninsulas, across the Straits of Mackinac alongside the Mackinac Bridge.

In light of the cancellation, we gave swimmers the option of receiving a refund or donating their refund back to the race to help cover our deficit and to donate any excess funds to charity,” said Jim Dreyer, Mighty Mac Swim Executive Director. “The devastating economic impact brought on by the pandemic is felt by events, their participants and host communities alike. Standing behind our swimmers was our top priority, but we were also hoping to coordinate the best possible outcome in providing assistance for all involved, if possible.”

Dreyer added, “I am pleased to announce that our amazing swimmers have risen to the occasion to not only support the Mighty Mac Swim in our time of need, but to also contribute much-needed assistance to the St. Ignace Area Community Foundation and the Church of the Straits Community Food Pantry. We are humbled by the generosity of our ‘Finheads’ (swimmers), who demonstrated their love for the race and commitment to Northern Michigan. We will forever be grateful for how they put a positive spin on our cancellation in such a charitable manner. I believe these types of ‘feel good’ stories desperately need to be heard during this pandemic and time of civil unrest.”

The funds raised were split evenly between the St. Ignace Area Community Foundation whose service area is north of the Mackinac Bridge, and the Church of the Straits Community Food Pantry which serves Mackinaw City and the surrounding area south of the bridge.

The contribution from the Mighty Mac swimmers has been directed to St. Ignace Area Schools for installing touchless hand sanitizers and to the St. Ignace Area Hope Food Pantry and Hotline, assisting many in the community with urgent needs over the coming months,” said Pete Everson, Chairperson of the St. Ignace Area Community Foundation. “Even though we are saddened the race has been canceled, we are very appreciative of the generosity of the swimmers who left their entry fee as a gift to our community.”

The number of families we serve each week has doubled since the onset of the pandemic,” said Rosalie LaPointe, Church of the Straits Community Food Pantry Coordinator. “Our mission is to help people supplement their nutritional needs and relieve a portion of their financial burden, while creating a community of Christian belonging which may be lacking in those we serve. The Church of the Straits Community Food Pantry thanks the Mighty Mac swimmers for contributing funds to help us be Jesus’ hands and feet in reaching out to those families in need. God bless you all.”

I am happy to see that by donating our race entry fee refunds, the Mighty Mac Swim could cover expenses and still be able to support charity,” said Don Kern, Grand Rapids Marathon Event Director and a 2020 registrant for his 4th Mighty Mac Swim. “It has been a rough year for event directors. I stand behind the Mighty Mac Swim’s tough decision to cancel this year’s swim and support the refund choices designed to assist those in need.

As a Mighty Mac swimmer, I finally realized the goal of swimming across the Straits of Mackinac in my third attempt last year. The event was held only two days after my mom’s funeral, so it had a special significance for me. I was looking forward to this year, with a summer of fun training and then the beauty of the Mackinac Bridge again from a perspective that few people will ever have.”

The date of the next Mighty Mac Swim is scheduled for August 8th 2021.

For more information on the swim and to get on the waiting list to participate in 2021, sign up on the Mighty Mac Swim website (www.MightyMacSwim.com) before the waitlist closes at 7:00 am on August 9th 2020.

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