What is the Hot Chocolate Run?

The Hot Chocolate Run is a community celebration of Safe Passage, the Hampshire County organization addressing domestic violence.

Join us for a fun and festive start to the holiday season. Spend time with family and friends, run a challenging 5K course with serious competitors, enjoy hot chocolate, and most importantly, support Safe Passage and our important programs for survivors of domestic violence.

Every one of our participants can make a big difference for people who have lived with domestic violence by fundraising for Safe Passage. Together, we’ll make our community safer for everyone.


About Safe Passage and our work

Safe Passage is the Hampshire County organization addressing domestic violence. Since 1977, Safe Passage has helped thousands of families achieve safety, build justice, and rebuild their lives in the wake of domestic violence. You can learn more about Safe Passage and domestic violence on our website.

Our many donors and supporters are a critical part of our work.

The Hot Chocolate Run has had an incredible impact on the lives of adults and children affected by domestic violence. This event has helped Safe Passage to respond to thousands of people in abusive relationships over the past ten years. The event has supported safe shelter, legal assistance, and critical counseling services for adults and kids who have lived with violence in their homes.

In the event’s fifteenth year, we are thinking big. We hope that this year’s Hot Chocolate Run will raise even more funds for Safe Passage than ever before.

We hope you’ll join us on December 8th!

Event History

Jen Dieringer has been running 5ks, 10ks and more for as long as she can remember. Her husband, John Frey, has organized, promoted and participated in running and cycling events for years. Their combined interest in and experience with the sport of running sparked the enthusiasm that led to the first ever Hot Chocolate Run for Safe Passage in 2004.

Event founders Jen Dieringer and John Frey had been running (and in John's case, organizing) road races for years when they had the brilliant idea to start a 5k to benefit Safe Passage. Their idea was a reflection of Jen's long-standing commitment to supporting survivors of domestic violence, as reflected in her work as a legal services attorney and as a member of the Safe Passage Board of Directors.

After months of enlisting volunteers, gathering donated goods and services, signing up sponsors, and registering participants, Safe Passage hosted the first Hot Chocolate Run on December 5, 2004. On a drizzly, cold morning, over 400 people ran, walked and raised $6,000 for Safe Passage. The turnout was beyond Jen and John’s wildest expectations. and the energy and enthusiasm of the participants convinced us that this simply had to become an annual event.

In year 5, we added a new way for participants to support Safe Passage. Each runner and walker receives their own fundraising page, and asks friends and family to donate and support them in the event. As our participants became more involved with supporting our work, we saw event proceeds soar year after year.

Many years later, the Hot Chocolate Run is the most successful fundraising event in the area. Proceeds from the event ($628,000 in 2018) support every program and service at Safe Passage: our shelter, counseling and legal programs, services for kids, violence prevention, and more. Every dollar raised makes a survivor safer and gives them hope for a brighter future.

We -- the staff and board of Safe Passage -- are so very grateful to our thousands of runners and walkers, our generous business sponsors, our donors, and our event volunteers for their incredible support. Thank you!