SIDNEY — The coronavirus has touched something near and dear to Sarah Steenrod and Tootie the Traveling Tutu’d Turkey.
The 14th annual Turkey Trot, sponsored by First Presbyterian Church, has been canceled because of COVID-19.
“The actual event was considered like a cross country meet with 150 participants,” said Chairman Sarah Steenrod. “We blew that number out of the water after year two or three because we usually have 800 runners.”
So, said Steenrod, the Turkey Trot committee made the difficult decision to cancel this year’s run.
The Turkey Trot’s main focus, said Steenrod, is collect food for those in need. And withe coronavirus still in full impact, the need for food in the county hasn’t decreased. Rather the need has increased in all corners of the county..
“In 2019, we collected over 3 tons of food and $3,500 in monetary donations. All went directly to Alpha Community Center to be used for food insecurity,” said Steenrod.
And while he face of the 2020 Turkey Trot might look a little different, the goal is still the same collect food and monetary donations for the Alpha Center.
“This year we’re going to hold a food drive-thru,” said Steenrod. “It will be held Wednesday, Nov. Nov. 25, from 4 to 7 p.m., and Thursday Nov. 26, from 7 a..m. to noon in the parking lot of the First Presbyterian Church. People will be able to drop off their donations of nonperishable foods at either of the times.
“As hard as it was to cancel the run, we knew we had to protect our volunteers and participants from the coronavirus.”
Steenrod said she was in contact with Kent Topp at the Sidney-Shelby County Health Department about holding the race. In the end, the health and safety of those involved took top priority.
Culver’s — a Turkey Trot partner for 10 years — will still be supporting this year’s event, said Steenrod.
“We can’t have our annual fundraiser and registration night but Culver’s will still be selling Turkey Bucks’ to raise money,” she said. “They sell for $1 each and they are hoping to have a sea of turkeys at the restaurant.”
Allison’s Custom Jewelry, 104 E, Mason Road, also a sponsor for many years, will hold a food drive at the business also. The week of Nov. 0-14, Allison’s will hold a food drive. Anyone bringing in two nonperishable food items will receive 20% off any in-stock purchase. Steenrod will be at the store on Nov. 14 dressed as a turkey in honor of the event.
Culver’s and Allison’s will also have donation buckets at the businesses. Monetary donations can also be made online at the church’s website, www.sidneyfirstpres.org.
“We will still have the Turkey Trot T-shirts available for purchase online only,” said Steenrod.
Shirts are $20 each and can ordered at www.sidneyfirstpres.org.
“When you drop off your food on Nov. 25-26, you’ll be able to pick yo your shirt,” said Steenrod.
All food collected will be delivered to the Alpha Community Center, said Steenrod. Monetary donations will be given to the Shelby County Community Foundation’s Match Day and designated for the Alpha Community Center. All donations u p to $5,000 will be matched by the Community Foundation.
“Thee coronavirus has hit the community hard,” said Steenrod. “If there’s ever a time that we have a food insecurity in our community, it’s now.”
Though masks will be prevalent during the 2020 Turkey Trot activities, Steenrod said he event will be back next year, better than ever.
“Next year is year 15 for the Turkey Trot,” said Steenrod. “We’ll be back in business and it will be a big deal!”
Reach the writer at 937-538-4822.