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Freeze for Food

Photo of the 2012 Freeze for Food

Freeze for Food logo

Watch for details on next year's Freeze for Food!



Ready to do something proactive about immigration due to conflict or climate change? Join the Freeze for Food 5K/10K, sponsored by the RPCVs of Wisconsin-Madison. We raise funds to support food security programs of Madison's Open Doors for Refugees, a nonprofit organization dedicated to welcoming refugees to the Madison area and supporting their resettlement.


The Afghan refugees who recently fled their country for the safety of the U.S. have now been resettled in towns and cities across the country. As of spring 2022, more than 37 individuals have arrived in Madison with more to follow. They joined the ranks of many other refugees here, mostly coming from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and other African countries, or from Syria and Iraq over the several years before that. As millions flee their war-torn country. the first Ukrainian families are settling in the area. When they arrive in Madison, one difficult journey ends, but another begins. Parents need to make a living while whole families struggle to learn a new language and new customs. Most household heads hold low-paying jobs as front line workers. In their first years, families often struggle to buy food and pay rent and other bills. All miss family members left behind and worry about their ongoing dangers.

Your registration fee and donations help over 100 families feel more welcome and supported in a new city. Be part of Madison's safety net while you run or walk and enjoy Wisconsin's beautiful outdoors. Feel confident knowing that all proceeds from Freeze for Food will be used for food security and relief efforts for incoming families.

boy and man with food bag




In addition to the exciting race, we'll also be hosting a food drive for the Goodman Community Center Fritz Food Pantry. On race day, kindly bring your non-perishable food donations to the Vilas Park Shelter, where we'll have collection bins ready to receive your generous contributions. Our runners have consistently demonstrated their commitment to food security initiatives, and we sincerely appreciate your unwavering support..


Our race is never canceled due to weather or pandemic. Participants can choose to run/walk in person on Date TBD at Vilas Park along Lake Wingra or choose the virtual option and run/walk at their preferred location anywhere in the world. Due to the generosity of our sponsors, your donation will be a pass-through to Open Doors for Refugees. 


Registration details will be updated in the winter of 2024. Watch for the announcement.


3 volunteers



We rely on many volunteers, like Tamara England, Joy Amessoudji and Amy Amessoudji, pictured here in 2018.

If you can help with the many tasks to make this a success, send an email to freeze [at]



Generous support by our sponsors means that 100% of registration fees goes to Open Doors for Refugees. If you'd like to be a sponsor in 2024 and see your name on this list, send an email to  freeze (AT)

Your donation in any amount is a 100% pass through to Open Doors for Refugees


people running the race

Recent Years Runner Placement

Past Years Reports

A Short History of the Freeze

The Freeze for Food has been a labor of love for the RPCVs of Madison. Through the years it has been passed on from member to member to manage as a fundraiser for food security projects. After the International Calendar began making a profit (around 1992), a certain amount from calendar sales has been allocated to supporting the expenses of the Freeze – currently at the rate of $2,000 per race. Following is a short history of the event’s managers and fund beneficiaries. Of course, many RPCVs (whether group members or not) and friends have played a huge role on race day to help with the details, usually around 30 people getting together to enjoy a crisp winter day.

  • 1982: Wade DallaGrana (RPCV Lesotho 1976-1978) started the Freeze for Food. The group was raising money for Oxfam, and Wade was a runner; he put 2 and 2 together, and started the fundraiser. Wade’s last race was 1990.
  • 1990: Deb Stapleton (RPCV Honduras 1985-1987) managed the Freeze for the next four years.
  • 1994: Dave Hamilton (RPCV Honduras 1985-1987) took over for another 4 years through 1998.
  • 1999: Peter Joyce (RPCV Guatemala 1981-1984) and Rick Lackey (RPCV Micronesia 1982-1984) took it up. Peter noticed the burnout working with Oxfam and that as a global organization, Oxfam really did not know what we were doing. He proposed to the Board that we work with a local group instead of Oxfam, thinking that they would have a better connection, and could provide us with people on race day. Someone stated that we should work with one of the Madison Sister City projects. We asked all 6 or 7 groups to make us a one page proposal. Only two groups responded: Working Capital for Community Needs (WCCN) and Colombia Support Network (CSN). CSN’s was the better of the two.
  • 2011: Kate Schachter (RPCV Ghana 2004-2007) agreed to manage the Freeze, not wanting to see it fade away when Peter and Rick decided it was time to step aside. However, she wanted CSN to help with the planning, not just on the day of the event. Jack Laun (co-Director of CSN and RPCV Panama 1967-1969) agreed to co-chair the planning. Other RPCV and CSN members were also brought into the planning team.
  • 2016: When Kate returned to Peace Corps service (RPCRV Georgia 2016-2017) Stephanie Shelton (RPCV Tonga 2012-2014) and Tom Felhofer (RPCV Malawi 1988-1990), both committed Freeze volunteers and runners for several years, agreed to co-chair with CSN. A switch was made to a chip timing company, which made a big difference in expenses, but also in donated profits.
  • 2017: Because of the increase in the refugee crisis in Syria, as well as other countries worldwide, Steph and Tom presented an alternate beneficiary of the Freeze funds to the Board. Open Doors for Refugees, formed in Madison, was selected. Madeline Uraneck (RPCV Lesotho 2004-2009) from Open Doors liases on the race details.
  • 2018: Kate returned from Peace Corps service in Georgia, and rejoined the organizing team with Tom, Steph and Madeline.
  • 2019: Lauren Troxtel (RPCV Ethiopia 2012-2014) stepped forward to be the Race Director. Kate and Madeline remain on the team, Tom and Steph are backing up while slowly backing out, and as always we work with a lot of volunteers.
  • 2020: Lauren, Tom, and Kate remain on the team. Madeline and Joyce Muxfeld (Open Doors for Refugees member) represent Open Doors support in producing the event. The event was held two weeks before the pandemic shutdown in-person events.
  • 2021:Tom Felhofer, Ashley Gries (RPCV Panama 2008-2010), Joyce Muxfeld, Cassie Rademaekers (RPCV Nepal 1983-1985), Kate Schachter, Madeline Uraneck, and Kathleen Wannemuehler (RPCV Kenya 1994-1996) create a team from both the RPCV Madison and Open Doors organizations. Forty years of the Freeze for Food and a pandemic have made us get creative about how to run a safe race. It is Runner's Choice over the course of two days!
  • 2022: Tricia Blanco (ODFR and RPCV Honduras 1982-1984), Jessica Collins (ODFR), Julet Frazier (community volunteer), Cassie Rademaekers, Kate Schachter and Kathleen Wannemuehler are this year's team, planning another new way of running the event as a Runner's Choice: in-person or virtual from anywhere in the world to suit runner's preferences. We found that the generosity of the running community, combined with current world events around refugees and immigrants, means that we all care deeply about good community citizenship and support.
  • 2023: Tricia Blanco, Jessica Collins (ODFR), Julet Frazier (community volunteer), Erica Hoyt (ODFR), Matt Munns (ODFR), Kate Schachter, and Kathleen Wannemuehler built on our team experience from 2022 to surpass records, both number of runner registrations and total dollars donated.
  • 2024: Tricia Blanco, Julet Frazier, Cassie Rademaekers, Kate Schachter, Kathleen Wannemuehler and Madeline Uraneck  are back as the "old-timers" on the planning team. ODFR was also very generous in helping us find additional core planners: Kyle Studnicka-Pineda, Stephanie Taylor, Lily Varilla, Carol Wilson and Casey Wong.


Race Details

Year Runners Expenses $$$ Donated Race time weather
2024-Mar 2 383 $ $~18,000 50-60⁰F; mostly sunny; brisk winds from S 10-20 mph broke up lake ice; clear pavement (warmest Freeze)
2023-Mar 4 404 $3,679 $16,840 45⁰F and cloudy during 5k; 10K with temps in the mid-30s,  brisk wind with wintry mix; recent snow but clear pavement
2022-Mar 5 361 $3,693 $14,577 44⁰F; sun during 5K; 10K with driving rain and rainbow; clear pavement
127 $1,471 $10,243 43⁰F; winds gusty S 17-26 mph, no snow or rain; partly sunny; all virtual over 2 days
2020-Mar 7 252 $4,394 $6,900 50⁰F, winds gusty S 10-20 mph, no snow or rain, partly sunny, clear pavement
2019-Mar 2 185 $3,073 $5,800 24⁰F; winds NNW 1-6 mph, no snow or rain; cloudy; snow/ice pavement
2018-Mar 3 174 $4,241 $5,533 42⁰F; winds SE 12-15 mph, no snow or rain; sunny; clear pavement
2017-Mar 4 273 $3,233 $6,138 36⁰F; winds ESE 18 mph, no snow or rain; partly sunny; clear pavement
2016-Jan 23 282 $3,012 $5,600 31⁰F; winds SW 10-11mph with a 17mph gust during the 10K, no snow or rain; clear pavement
2015-Jan 17 200 $1,634 $3,776 40⁰F; winds SW 9-10mph with 21mph gusts; light drizzle during 10K; clear pavement
2014-Jan 18 143 $1,176 $2,588 17°F; 10 mph winds; snow flurries during 5K; cleared snow on most of the run, except up the Edgewood College hill
2013-Jan 23 183 $580 $3,096 43°F; 20 mph winds, with strong headwind on last section of 10K; mostly sunny; no ice
2012-Jan 21 110 $994 $2,061 12°F; 0-2 mph winds; sunny; 3“ of snow the day before was well plowed before race time; footing was slippery, but consistent; no ice
2011-Jan 22 137 $1,063 $2,659 12°F; windy; 1“ new snow
2010-Jan 23 205 $907 $3,439 35°F; all pavement, no ice/snow
2009-Jan 24 117 $820 $2,378 5°F; no wind, hard snow on pavement
2008-Jan ? 83 $551 $2,085 0°F; 20 mph wind, icy, frigid cold
2007-Jan ? 160 $382 $2,795 25°F; no snow on pavement
2006-Jan ? 180 $770 $3,443 32°F; 3 inches fresh snow, sunny
2005-Jan ? 70 $688 $1,474 10°;F; v windy, 10 inches fresh snow
2004-Jan  75 $668 $2,574 20°F; 2 inches fresh snow, patches of ice
2003-Jan 25 129 $700 $2,824 20°F; windy
2002-Jan 26 200 ? $3,300 50°F;
2001-Jan 20 167 $500 $3,338 20°F; sunny, no snow; classic freeze
2000-Jan 22 120 $628 $2,901 25°F; cloudy; snow on ground
1999-Jan 23 ? $734 $2,200 33°F; cloudy; rainy
1998-Jan 24 ? ? $3,544 26°F; mostly cloudy; 0.06″ snow; SW winds 7mph
1997-Jan 25 ? ? $3,000 1⁰F; sunny; no snow; NW winds 5mph
1996-Jan 27 ? ? $2,400 9⁰F; mostly cloudy; no snow; SE winds 6mph
1995-Jan 28 ? $575 $2,773 24⁰F; mostly cloudy; 0.01″ snow; NW winds 15mph
1994-Jan 29 40 $350 $815 26⁰F; cloudy; no snow; SE winds 12mph
1993-Jan 23 ? $366 $865 26⁰F; cloudy; 0.02″ snow; SW winds 13mph
1992-Jan ? 56 $300 $831 5⁰F; sunny; no snow; NW winds 15mph
1991-Jan ? 108 $300 $1,474 40⁰F; mostly cloudy; no snow; SW winds 17mph
1990-Jan 27 106 $275 $1,205 31⁰F; cloudy; 0.05″ snow; NE winds 15mph
1989-Jan 28 81 $256 $1,076 31⁰F; sunny; no snow; SW winds 22mph
1988-Jan 23 98 $291 $1,621 11⁰F; cloudy; 0.03″ snow; S winds 5mph
1987-Jan ? 78 $246 $1,300 25⁰F; cloudy; no snow; little wind
1986-Jan 11 80 $204 $920 40⁰F; cloudy; no snow; SW winds 16mph
1985-Jan 12 110 $196 $2,042 -9⁰F; sunny; no snow; NW winds 21mph (coldest Freeze)
1984-Jan 14 89 $145 $839 1⁰F; cloudy; no snow; S winds 17mph
1983-Jan 15 106 $105 $622 32⁰F; cloudy; 0.08″ snow; NE winds 12mph
1982-Jan 23 45 $70 $335 7⁰F; wind chill -45⁰F; mostly sunny; 0.12″ snow
TOTAL TO-DATE (202): $43,270+ $144,244  

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  Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of Wisconsin-Madison is a public charity registered under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of the United States. Its EIN is 39-1669348. It is also an affiliate group of the National Peace Corps Association (NPCA).

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