Turkey Trot participants encouraged to bring donation for King’s Kettle Food Bank
By AMBER SOUTH
Sneakers, jogging pants and sweatshirts will be popular Thanksgiving Day gear in Shippensburg, as several hundred people are expected to race into the holiday season via the fourth annual Turkey Trot.
But getting in a heart-pounding 5K run ahead of stuffing their stomachs with turkey and fixings is just the secondary goal for participants and organizers, because everyone is encouraged to bring a nonperishable food item to donate to King’s Kettle Food Bank. All funds generated from registration fees will go to the food pantry too.
“I think it’s a great tradition to start for families to come out and be thankful for things they have and share, if they can, with people who are in need,” said Heather Swartz, an event coordinator.
Whether running toward the finish line or walking to help the cause, participants will follow a course that begins at Memorial Park and loops through the Shippensburg middle school and high school complex. Race winners will get a frozen turkey. In past years, most of these turkeys were donated to King’s Kettle.
This year’s event is expected to be the biggest so far, as each year has seen more and more participants. There were about 400 last year, Swartz said. Usually, about 75 percent of people race and the rest walk.
The Turkey Trot got started as a conversation between Swartz and her life-long friend and fellow coordinator Lori Pomeroy six years ago on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, Swartz clearly recalled. She was participating in a similar event in another town, and thought it should have a home in Shippensburg too.
With the strained economy and Thanksgiving being two major aspects, helping a food bank was an obvious decision. Swartz contacted Pastor J.R. Wells, who runs King’s Kettle, and found him to be thrilled about the idea.
In the first two years, the Turkey Trot helped out the food pantry by donating registration fees. Starting last year, participants and others in the community were encouraged to bring a nonperishable food item to donate.
“We practically filled the back of a box truck,” Swartz said. “People not only bring just one can, but grocery sacks full.”
Organizers would like participants to register in advance, but race-day registration is available. Also, this is the first year registration has been available online. To register, click here.
The fee is $10, or $15 with a T-shirt. A limited supply of shirts will be available for those registering the day of.
Amber South can be reached at email@example.com and 262-4771.