Mike and Tracy Murchison have partnered with Meals on Wheels of Long Beach and the Long Beach Education Foundation to create the “Long Beach Challenge,” a campaign to raise up to $100,000 to provide food to people in need during the coronavirus pandemic.

“Food insecurity is at a high right now. Students who have been out of school still need their daily meals, and homebound seniors and veterans are more vulnerable than ever,” Tracy Murchison said. “Both the nonprofits we partnered with are in need of additional support.”

The Long Beach couple got the idea from an identical challenge by businessman Michael Rubin, part owner of the Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Devils. Rubin’s nationwide “All-In-Challenge Fundraiser” launched April 14 and raised over $10 million in four days with the help of musicians, athletes and entertainers.

The Long Beach effort features an auction of donated items, such as Major League Baseball tickets, rounds of mini-golf and a private charter fishing trip. According to a press release, 100% of all proceeds will be split between Meals on Wheels and the Education Foundation. Item donations will be accepted through July 1, with bidding set to run from June 1 to July 15.

Meals on Wheels Long Beach has been feeding seniors, veterans and disabled persons since 1971. The organization has increased its service by 40% since mid-March, now delivering more than 1,200 meals per day to over 600 people.

The Long Beach Education Foundation is working to raise additional funds for the Long Beach Unified School District meal program, which is currently providing meals to over 5,000 students and families.

“Mike and I love our Long Beach community and we are always looking at ways to make a difference in peoples’ lives,” Tracy said. “We hope and pray that the effort we put into this will make a difference and give people a sense of hope that everything is going to be OK.”

Brandon Richardson is a reporter and photojournalist for the Long Beach Post and Long Beach Business Journal.