Join us for our 50th Anniversary 5K!

Stop the Stigma 5K Celebrating 50 Years

What started 50 years ago as a fundraising walk-a-thon to support the initiatives of Protestant Social Services Bureau (the former name of Interfaith Social Services), will kick off its 50th iteration this year on April 27 in North Quincy. Our annual event has grown from a homegrown church-sponsored walk to a full-blown 5K race welcoming more than 800 walkers and runners annually.

In its early days, participants formed teams with their churches, and proceeds from the 10-mile walk benefitted all programs of the social service agency. As we grew and dropped religious affiliation, the walk was opened beyond houses of worship. In 2016, we decided to refocus the mission of the event to focus on stopping stigmas surrounding mental health and addiction while raising funds for our New Directions Counseling Center. Around the same time, we pivoted from the walk-a-thon model to a timed 5K race.

Mental health and addiction remain critical issues in our community and across the nation. According to recent statistics from the National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI), 1 in 5 U.S. adults experience mental illness each year, with only 47.2% of them receiving the treatment they need. Addiction issues in Massachusetts, including opioid-related overdoses, remain a challenging public health crisis, hitting record numbers in 2023 according to a recent report from the state Department of Health.

In this archive photo, hundreds of participants line up for the 1982 “Walk for PSSB.” Pictured in the white coat is former Quincy Mayor Francis X. McCauley, and to the right of him, then State Senator Paul Harold. This year marks the 50th anniversary of Interfaith Social Services’ Stop the Stigma 5K. Credit – Interfaith Social Services archives


New Directions is a Safety Net

Our New Directions Counseling Center seeks to address these challenging issues by serving anyone seeking counseling. The Center acts as a safety net for uninsured and underinsured members of the community by offering services on a sliding scale fee system. To further break down barriers to receiving treatment, new clients to the New Directions Counseling Center receive their first four sessions free of charge.

Over the past 10 years, the Stop the Stigma 5K has raised more than $500,000 to assist New Directions’ clients, allowing hundreds of individuals and families to get the mental health care they need. By participating in the 5K, thousands of local residents have chosen to take a stand against mental health stigmas and support those experiencing mental illness and addiction.

“We are so excited to celebrate this milestone year,” said Paula Daniels, Director of Development of Interfaith Social Services and Stop the Stigma 5K’s Race Director. “We hope to welcome a record number of participants, all coming together to support their loved ones who are suffering as well as raising awareness to the cause. There is no shame in having a mental illness. It is okay to ask for help.”

2024 Race Details

This year’s Stop the Stigma 5K will be held April 27 at the Kennedy Center in North Quincy. The 5K route winds through the Squantum neighborhood, with picturesque views of the Harbor and Boston’s skyline. All participants registering before March 29 will receive a race t-shirt. Registration is open now at

This year’s event will feature a food truck from Granite Links with coffee and light breakfast & lunch items for sale, as well as free bagels provided by Gold Medal Bakery & Bagel Boy. Polar Beverages will be donating water for race participants.

2024 Stop the Stigma Sponsors

Anniversary Level Sponsors:

5K Level Sponsors:

Gold Level Sponsors:

Silver Level Sponsors:

  • Abington Bank
  • Bank of Canton
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts
  • the Brain Aneurysm Foundation
  • Dedham Savings
  • First Congregational Church UCC of Randolph
  • FoxRock Properties
  • IntelyCare
  • Law Offices of William T. Kennedy, P.C.
  • Lawson & Weitzen, LLP
  • Massachusetts Convention Center Authority
  • Point32Health
  • SIGNET Electronic Systems
  • South Shore Health
  • United Healthcare

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