By Alicia Dziak

Thanksgiving is a time to enjoy your family and friends, and appreciate everything that you have. It’s also a time to remember those who may not have as much, including basics like food. In an effort to collect food for those in need, local towns are hosting runs and walks to get the communities involved in helping out this holiday season.

All around the state, people will be waking up on Thanksgiving Day and heading out the door for a morning run. Of course, the big Turkey Trot in Buffalo will be held on this day, bringing thousands of runners to the streets of downtown. But if you’re looking for something on a smaller scale, that might be a better option for those with kids, two similar races will be held nearby.

The annual YMCA Turkey Trot 5K Walk/Run will be held at St. Bonaventure University on Thanksgiving morning. Registration will be held from 8–8:45 a.m. in Murphy Auditorium, and the race begins at 9 a.m. There is no entry fee, but participants are asked to bring one nonperishable food item to be donated to the local food pantry.

There will also be a 50/50 raffle and turkeys to the first male/female runner and first walker across the finish line. For more information, call (716) 701-1330.

Gobble for Groceries is a 2-mile walk or 3.6-mile fun run that benefits the Springville Community Kitchen. The race, held at 9 a.m. Thanksgiving morning, begins and ends at the Trading Post Community Care Center at 38 Franklin St. in the village of Springville. The traditional set entry fee is replaced with a “fee” of a bag of nonperishable grocery items or a cash donation.

“Gobble for Groceries is a wonderful opportunity to help the community,” said Suzanne Ehlers of Springville, who participated in the run last year. “It was a fun run for the whole family!”

“It was fun to run with my mom,” added Ehlers’ daughter, Sara.

Post-race refreshments donated by local businesses will be available inside the Trading Post, and T-shirts will be available for purchase. For more information, call (716) 592-4455.

Thanksgiving Day runs are a great way to enjoy the crisp autumn air and burn off some of the calories you’ll consume later in the day, all while participating in a great cause. Round up some friends and family members, and make it a new Thanksgiving tradition. You’ll be home well before the turkey is done!