By Kellen M. Quigley
While Thanksgiving may include a dinner of carved turkey and all the fixings, not everyone is able to enjoy such a meal for many days during the year.
More important than the food, Thanksgiving is about being thankful and giving back, which is exactly what the Trading Post has done the past seven years with the annual Gobble for Groceries 5K and 2-mile fun walk.
The 8th Gobble for Groceries begins at 8 a.m. on Thanksgiving day, Thursday, Nov. 22, at the Trading Post in Springville.
“We have a great committee,” said Peggy Austin, director of the Trading Post, who is helping organize the event for the first time. “I volunteered last year so I know how much fun it was and what a great event it was, so I’m excited to be a part of it.”
In Springville, the Trading Post Outreach Center, located at 38 Franklin St., 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.
This year, the Watermark Wesleyan Church is involved with the fundraising event for the first time, Austin said.
“We’re new to town and we’re excited to be a part of it,” she added.
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 began with only about 25 runners that first year, but has grown to include about 200 participants in recent years. Event organizer Joe Wolniewicz said close to 300 participated in 2017.
Although event participants may “pay” their fee by donating groceries, event organizers said participants could also give a monetary donation for the Trading Post.
“We do have building needs, so we’re thinking going forward it would be nice to have cash donations,” Austin said. “But grocery donations are more fun because it is Thanksgiving.”
Every dollar raised buys seven pounds of food from the Food Bank of WNY for the Trading Post’s food pantry, she added.
(Editor’s note: If paying with groceries, this should not include expired food from your pantry or items that need to be refrigerated. Items should include staples like peanut butter, spaghetti sauce and cereal.)
Wolniewicz said the although the route has been tweaked slightly from last year’s, it still begins and ends at the Trading Post, 38 Franklin St. in Springville.
Awards will be given for top male and female competitors overall and the male and female competitors over 40 years old. Wolniewicz said the prizes will be gift certificates.
A DJ will be on site providing music throughout the event. Austin said other highlights include a variety of refreshments, a basket raffle and a 50/50 drawing.
“A lot of local businesses have been donating,” Austin said. “And there will be a turkey on the premises,” she added.
Visit with the costumed turkey mingling with the crowd for all your race photo opps.
Besides the committee of organizers, volunteers could be used for various jobs during the event. If you are interested in volunteering, contact Austin at 440-8703. “There are many ways to get involved,” she said.
Registration for Gobble for Groceries begins at 8 a.m. on Thursday, Nov. 22, with the race starting at 9. For more info, search “Gobble for Groceries” on Facebook or visit www.watermarkwesleyan.com.
“Our Mission is to display God’s love to the people in the greater community by meeting the everyday needs and developing caring relationships in an atmosphere that nurtures dignity and hope,” Austin said.