CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The gear up for an annual Thanksgiving Day 5k has officially begun, and the funds raised from the event goes to help those in need.
Union Mission Ministries of Charleston will be host to its 12th annual Drumstick Dash along the Kanawha Boulevard Thanksgiving morning. The 5k gets underway at 9 a.m. starting at Haddad Riverfront Park.
Participants have the option to run or walk the race as they make their way down to the State Capitol and back.
Union Mission President and CEO Jason Quintrell announced the details of the annual run on The Dave Allen Show Friday, adding that it has grown in participation over the years, and has become a popular way to spend Thanksgiving Day.
“It has become a pretty cool tradition for a lot of families from all over, many families, this is kind of how they kick off their Thanksgiving tradition,” Quintrell said.
He said in years past they have had up to 1,500 people participating in the race, but typically they get between 1,000 to 1,200 participants.
Quintrell said the 5k is a fundraising event for Union Mission, with proceeds going to support the organization’s downtown men’s rescue center, their addiction recovery program, family services, outreach, among the other programs they operate to help people with more limited means in need.
He said they could use the support from the community now more than ever, as greater expenses for food and resources have created even more of those areas of demand.
“I mean, in today’s economy, those who are working are struggling, with the prices of groceries and such, the need just keeps going up and we’re trying to meet that need and it’s getting tougher and tougher, so we really need your help,” he said.
Quintrell said for the past month Union Mission has been working on the operation of their Thanksgiving distribution drive, which they had planned to host over the weekend.
For the distribution, the organization collected a total of 500 turkeys to giveaway to families who had signed up and met the criteria to receive them.
Quintrell said they anticipated on around 450 families to come out to the distribution, and each family would not only receive a turkey, but 6 to 12 cans of food, two boxes of stuffing, two boxes of macaroni and cheese and drinks.
However, he said they also take the opportunity to do some ministering to the people as they wait in their cars to receive the food.
“We go around and talk to these folks, we have Bible Center folks that do an awesome job, by the way, they counsel with these folks a little bit, pray with them if they want it,” said Quintrell.
Quintrell said while online registration for the Drumstick Dash has ended, he urges people who want to participate in the 5k to still plan to come to their registration table the morning of the race to enter. He said to get there at 7 a.m., two hours before the race begins to sign up.