By Cameron Joseph - 11/16/06 12:00 AM EST
The holiday spirit will get off to a running start this Thanksgiving with the 5th Annual Thanksgiving Day Trot for Hunger in Washington, D.C.
Before some area residents go home to stuff their turkeys and their stomachs, they will take time out to run or walk in a 5k race in West Potomac Park to help raise money and awareness for So Others Might Eat (SOME), an organization dedicated to eliminating homelessness in D.C.
Founded in 1970, SOME is an interfaith group that started as a soup kitchen, serving the basic survival needs of the homeless — food, clothing, showers and healthcare.
In recent years, the organization has expanded its outreach by taking on some of the root causes of homelessness by providing low-income housing, job training, counseling, and addiction treatment.
The group says that within the past year they have provided job training for over 100 homeless people, permanent or long-term housing for 450 people, and counseling for over 1,200 homeless.
They also have served nearly 300,000 meals for men, women and children during that period. SOME also provides shelter for homeless senior citizens and the abused elderly.
D.C. Mayor-elect Adrian Fenty is the honorary chairman of this year’s event. “He has been a supporter [of SOME] as council member… I know he’s been at other openings and events. We’re excited to have him with us this Thanksgiving,” said SOME marketing and special events manager Jennifer Bremmer.
Bremmer says that the 5k Trot was created due to popular demand. “The event came into being because we were receiving an overwhelming number of calls from people asking to volunteer on Thanksgiving, and our dining room was already overstaffed. We realized we needed a way to bring all of these people in to help.”
“A 5k is a fun run and family walk, set up to engage anyone whatever their activity level is, and it’s early enough that it doesn’t interrupt people’s normal eating and football watching schedules,” Bremer said.
Over 1,900 people participated in last year’s 5k. More than $115,000 was raised for SOME’s various programs. “We hope to reach 2000 people this year — we have over 300 registered already, and a number of registrations came in at the last minute last year,” said Bremmer. “We’ve had to move to a number of different sites because we keep outgrowing park permit sizes. The numbers have grown every year.”
The event will kick off on Thanksgiving Day at 8:30 a.m. from a point on Ohio Drive between Independence Avenue and West Basin Drive, near the FDR Memorial. Runners, walkers, children and leashed dogs are welcome. Participants are asked for a $20 donation. Registration deadlines are Nov. 17 for faxed and mailed applications, and noon on Nov. 22 for online applications.
Event organizers warn that parking will be very limited, and suggest that participants take the train to Metro Center, where they will be running a shuttle from the corner of 12th and F streets every 10 minutes from 7 a.m. until 8:10 a.m., and will return participants to the Metro stop after the race. For those who must drive, organizers advise arriving no later than 7:15 a.m. For more information, visit some.org.