BLOOMFIELD, NJ - More than 1400 students joined Bloomfield Educational Foundation's first annual 'Bengalthon' at Bloomfield Middle School (BMS) to support after school after school health, wellness and enrichment programs. The Bloomfield Public Schools students were joined by the Track and Field and Bowling teams at Bloomfield College, Faculty and staff of the school district, as well as elected officials and first responders joined the walk bringing the total number of participants to about 1800 people. 

We found a need and interest in adding after school programs in areas such as fitness, nutrition, and the arts in hopes to  promote health and wellness for our students. The Bloomfield Educational Foundation wanted to help support this endeavor, and working together, we created the Bengalthon to raise funds for this purpose,” explained BMS Middle School Principal, Alla Vayda-Manzo.

Students in Bloomfield's sixth grade classes jumped on school busses at their respective schools to join the sevenths and eighth grade classes in the fields behind BMS. Members of the Bloomfield High School band provided a musical background during the walk as Bloomfield cheerleaders cheered them on. 

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To raise funds, students made a suggested donation of $10 and asked family and friends to support them by also donating. Everything student participated in the 'Bengalthon' even if circumstances prevented them from making a donation. 

Sponsored by Brookdale ShopRite and Modell's, the Bengalthon is best described as a 'walk-a-thon' that not only raised money, but encouraged kids to get up and walk. At the start of Bengalthon, Brookdale ShopRite owner ran the 'gauntlet' of cheerleaders and their pompoms. The marked loop around the BMS was about a quarter mile, and most students did four or five laps. 

“We’d like to thank our sponsors, Brookdale Shop-Rite and Modell’s for helping to make this possible.  Their involvement in our community is very crucial to our success,” stated Vayda-Manzo. According to organizers of the event, Neil Greenstein, owner of the Brookdale ShopRite, has expressed interest in sponsoring future Bengalthons. 

The Bloomfield Educational Foundation is best known for the Sunset Classic 5K in June. That, along with other events, funds everything from scholarships to vocational programs at Bloomfield High School. Today's project will expand wellness initiatives in the middle school. To make a donation go to the upcoming events page of