TORONTO — Area residents will have an opportunity to get some early morning exercise and help a local charity before sitting down to their Thanksgiving meal when the T-Town Turkey Trot returns Thursday.
In its eighth year, the 5K run-walk will start at 8 a.m., with registration at 7 a.m., at 408 N. River Avenue.
Amanda Yazbek, its volunteer coordinator, said the registration fee is a donation of the participant’s choice, but anyone who donates $20 will be entered into drawings for assorted gift baskets and $25 gift cards to be awarded that day.
She said proceeds will go to the Helping Hands Food Pantry, which provides food to an average of 100 families each week.
Yazbek is president of the Toronto charity’s board of directors but initiated the Turkey Trot before she became directly involved with it.
“I just wanted to do something on Thanksgiving morning and give back to the community,” she said, noting it drew six participants and raised $200 for the charity in its first year but has grown steadily since.
Last year’s run set a record for attendance, with 62 participants, and raised about $3,900.
This year, J.E. Foster Funeral Homes will continue its practice of matching up to $1,000 in donations made by its runners and walkers.
Yazbek said last year medals were awarded to the top two finishers, and this year six will be presented to the top two finishers overall and the top male and female runners and walkers.
She said spectators also can donate $20 and be entered into the drawings.
Runners and walkers may register that morning or in advance through the event’s Facebook page.
Yazbek said the race will be held rain or shine and normally runs about an hour.
“We’ll get them back home in time to work on their dinners,” she said.
“We had one year when it was cold and wet, but we still had a lot of people show up,” said Yazbek, who added she’s thankful for the many participants who have supported the food pantry.
Located at 411 Clark St., it’s open to all Jefferson County residents in need, conducting food distributions 10 days in most months.
Canned goods and other nonperishable food is distributed from 9 a.m. to noon on the third Saturday of each month, while bread and pastries are usually available from 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. on Mondays and Thursdays.
Recipients are asked to present a state ID with photo and utility bill showing their current address.
Produce is distributed monthly from March through October.
For information, call (740) 632-6595.
The food pantry recently received a big boost through the door-to-door collection of canned goods throughout the city by members of Boy Scout Troop 41 and Cub Scout Pack 41.