By Samantha SLAYBACK
here’s no better time for people to gather and give back to their community than Thanksgiving, and that’s what foothills community members did this past holiday. On Thanksgiving Day, the Community Center of La Cañada Flintridge hosted its 21st annual Thanksgiving Day Run and Food Drive, also known as the Turkey Trot.
The event began at 8 a.m. Thanksgiving Day and concluded around 10:30 a.m. Runners and their families met at La Cañada Memorial Park to prepare for the run and grab some water and coffee to start their day. The Turkey Trot consisted of a 5K (3.1 mile) run for adults and a one-mile run for kids that started and ended at the park.
Community Center Program Director Amanda Balcazar has been coordinator of the Turkey Trot for the past three years, and said that the event has grown each year. Volunteer and coordinator Maureen Bond added that this year they saw at least 15,000 participants.
“We had the biggest event in the 21 years for our run,” said Bond. “The community is really something – we probably had three to four generations present.”
Along with all of the participants, there were close to 80 volunteers helping ensure the event ran smoothly.
“The event is a great volunteer opportunity for high school students,” said Balcazar. “It wouldn’t be possible without the help and support of our volunteers.”
Not only was this a big year for the number of participants, it was also a very successful year for food donations. According to Bond, seven schools participated in the food drive, filling all 24 bins at the Community Center. All of the food donations will be dispersed to families in need throughout the foothills.
The funds raised by the Turkey Trot will be used to support the many programs and services the Community Center offers all year, such as the enrichment programs for children and adults of all ages.
“The 5K Run and Food Drive is a major fundraiser for the Community Center as well as an opportunity for supporters to squeeze in a workout and to donate non-perishable food items to those in need,” said Balcazar.
Being a non-profit organization, the Community Center values any and all support is receives, ensuring that a little support goes a long way.
“We are very thankful to the community, the city, and the Sheriff’s Department,” shared Bond. “This event wouldn’t be possible without all of our wonderful sponsors and supporters.”
Making sure not to waste any time, the Community Center is already working on planning the Turkey Trot for next year.
To learn more about the La Canada Flintridge Community Center or to get involved, visit their website at CCLCF.org