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Springville's Thanksgiving Day Gobble for Groceries gives hunger a run for its money

SPRINGVILLE — Local residents interested in working off a few Thanksgiving calories and donating to the Springville Community Kitchen can do both, by participating in the Gobble for Groceries, a 3.6-mile run and 2-mile walk, on Thanksgiving morning.

The race will start and end at the Trading Post Community Care Center on Franklin Street in Springville, with registration’s beginning at 8 a.m. and the race’s kicking off at 9. The entry fee is a bag of non-perishable groceries and commemorative race T-shirts are available, for a donation.

Refreshments will also be provided, before and after the event. Race committee member Rick Manzone said that local grocers will provide the snacks, although those donors had not all been definitively secured, by press time.

Manzone said that the idea came about, when he and fellow runners Barb and Denny Fleissner were on their way back from training for a run.

“We wanted to do something close to home,” Manzone said. “And Barb is very active with the community kitchen, so we wanted to benefit them.”

Linette Crelly of the Trading Post said that this is the third year the race has taken place, and that it began as a local alternative to the YMCA Turkey Trot held in Buffalo, every year.

“That way, people can go out and participate, then get home to be with their families for the holiday, without having to go all the way to Buffalo,” Crelly explained. “It does good in the community, as well. It’s more low-key than the Turkey Trot; it has a real hometown feel.”

With approximately 60 – 70 participants last year, Crelly said that the event grows every time it is held, regardless of the weather.

“One year, it was really icky,” Crelly said, with a laugh. “We still had a good turnout. People are really good about dressing warmly and coming down. Runners are used to going out, in all kinds of weather!”

With a poster designed by Manzone, a cartoonist, and a T-shirt made and donated by Steve Kreitzbender of Pit Stop Pizza and Advantage Signs and Logos, Crelly said that the effort has involved several community members and businesses.

“In the future, we are planning on getting more sponsors. There’s a real need in the community and it benefits everyone,” she said.

Manzone said that many participants come with more than one bag of food and make the run a “family event. We have kids come up dragging wagons full of bags, or people with a few bags full who have made it a family tradition,” he said. “It’s a great way to share your good fortune with others, before you go home to eat the big dinner.”

In addition to refreshments, Manzone said that “fun prizes” are awarded to the first place finishing male and female runners, as well as “goofy prizes” for categories such as “most in need of running shoes” and “most likely to need 911 after the race.

“It’s just a fun thing,” Manzone said. “We have a good time with it and hope people come down at 9 and run with us.”

The Gobble for Groceries run will be held on Thanksgiving morning at 9 a.m. For more information, call the Trading Post at 592-4455.

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