By Garrett Stanley
On Friday, Nov. 26, patrons of Orangetheory Fitness in Bothell gathered to raise money for Hopelink, a nonprofit charitable organization that serves north and east King County residents with food, energy assistance, housing, family development programs, transportation and adult education.
The local gym branch offers a variety of classes in which members participate in a combination of weight lifting, rowing, and treadmill running.
Erin Crouch, assistant manager of the gym, explained how members were able to give back by participating in the charity class.
“In the holiday giving season, for this 90-minute charity class, all of the members were able to donate as much as they wanted with a $20 minimum and then they got a specialty workout,” Crouch said. “All of these members love challenging themselves and 90 minutes is a great way to do that!”
Ashley Johnson, head coach at the gym, thinks that the community approaches charity events differently than an average workout.
“The energy is different. Normally there are people kind of dragging their feet coming in, but the members who join for a charity class just have a different intrinsic motivation that is hard to explain, but you can feel it walking in,” Johnson said. “You can tell that they’re here for more than just themselves”
A total of 25 members participated in the charity drive.
“Just on our own—from the members—we have raised $1,077,” Crouch said. “Then the Casey’s, our ownership group, are going to match that with $1,000. So, in total $2,077!”
This money will be donated directly to Hopelink, a local Redmond-based charity that Orangetheory Fitness Bothell has an existing relationship.
“Hopelink is a charity group that we have partnered with in the past,” Crouch said. “Last year we did a mask drive. We had a whole box for people to bring in unused masks for the pandemic.”
This year, the gym decided to focus its efforts on a different area of need.
“The money is going to go towards homeless youth and families that are struggling,” Crouch said. “It helps pay for rent, food, and toys so at least everyone can open a toy or present for the holidays.”
This isn’t the gym’s only charity drive happening this holiday season.
“We are also doing a clothing drive for YouthCare. They are asking for gently used or new clothes that are specifically meant for the wintertime,” Crouch said. “Jackets, sweatpants, sweaters, anything that we can use to keep homeless youth warm during this time.”
Both women agreed that the community at this Bothell location is what makes their gym special, especially around the holiday season.
“We call it our OTF Bothell Fam,” Crouch said. “The great thing is that the members who have been coming consistently feel so comfortable with the workout and then they are able to help new members feel comfortable, it just creates a very big community.”
Johnson continued this sentiment.
“It’s just really cool to see the community come together and to see what people are willing to do to help others,” Johnson said. “They’re just a bunch of people who really want to give back and it was just awesome to be a part of that and to be able to celebrate and be thankful for our bodies and to give back to those who maybe don’t have the opportunity to do that.”