By Alicia Dziak
For many people, Thanksgiving includes a feast of carved turkey and all the fixings—a table filled to the brim with buttery mashed potatoes, seasoned stuffing, cheesy casseroles, pumpkin pie and more. But not everyone has the luxury of an over-the-top dinner on this day or many other days during the year, and many people turn to local food pantries to source their meals. In Springville, this place is the Trading Post, located at 38 Franklin Street, which provides numerous food items to local families in need, as well as a kitchen that serves meals. The Trading Post provides meals or food items to over 40,000 people a year, and stocking its shelves is an ongoing priority. One way to help with this initiative is the Gobble for Groceries, a 5K and fun walk that happens Thanksgiving morning.
“Gobble for Groceries is a great way to start Thanksgiving,” said Christine Greene, who chairs the event with Rick Manzone and Joe Wolniewicz. “You’re in and out by 10 a.m.”
The event began because a group of local runners who regularly attended Buffalo’s busy Turkey Trot, suggested doing something local that benefited Springville. Gobble for Groceries was born, starting with only about 25 runners that first year, and has grown to include about 250 participants.
Instead of a traditional race entry fee, event organizers ask for a monetary donation for the Trading Post. “With every dollar we get, we can buy $7 of food,” explained Greene. If people cannot provide a monetary donation, they can also “pay” with a bag of groceries. (Editor’s note: If paying with groceries, this should not include all the expired food from your pantry or items that need to be refrigerated. Items should include staples like peanut butter, spaghetti sauce and cereal.)
The fun, informal race is not chip-timed. The route has been tweaked slightly from last year’s, but still begins and ends at the Trading Post, at 38 Franklin Street in Springville. The course splits for the 5K and the 2-mile fun walk.
Awards will be given for male and female, over and under 40, as well as some non-traditional awards for oldest competitor and who came from the furthest away.
Manzone will DJ the event. Other highlights include a post-race party that includes coffee from Tim Horton’s, a variety of snacks, an auction for a one-year gym membership and, of course, a turkey mingling with the crowd for all your race photo opps.
“Our turkey has been sidelined this year,” Greene said, adding that they are looking for someone to fill its feathers. If you’d like to spend Thanksgiving morning in a turkey suit making people smile, contact Greene at (716) 535-9721.
Volunteers are also needed for traffic control, t-shirt sales and registration. If you can spare a few hours of your time, contact Greene at (716) 535-9721.
Greene hopes to see this event grow again this year. “It really demonstrates the true meaning of Thanksgiving,” she said.
Registration for Gobble for Groceries begins at 8 a.m. on Thursday, Nov. 23, with the race starting at 9. For more info, visit the event Facebook page at www.facebook.com/Gobble-for-Groceries-171174929892610.