Thanksgiving Turkey Trot to raise funds and awareness for food bank


Five locations for event this year due to COVID-19

The annual Turkey Trot is one of several fundraising and public awareness events hosted by the Clark County Food Bank (CCFB) each year. The event normally takes place on Thanksgiving morning at Klineline Park for a 5K run/walk event.  However, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused event organizers to be flexible and get creative this year.

The CCFB website bills this as a fun event for the community. “It’s more than just a 5K race. The Turkey Trot is a tradition of celebration on Thanksgiving morning with 100 percent of the proceeds benefiting Clark County Food Bank. The Turkey Trot provides a way for the community to come together and give back on this day of thanks.”

Instead of one large event that usually attracts 1,200 participants, this year there will be five separate “run on your own” events in numerous scenic locations around Clark County. 

The 2020 Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving morning, will be spread out at five different locations around Clark County, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This is an attempt to spread people out and provide more “local” sites for people to participate. Photo courtesy of Clark County Food Bank
The 2020 Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving morning, will be spread out at five different locations around Clark County, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This is an attempt to spread people out and provide more “local” sites for people to participate. Photo courtesy of Clark County Food Bank

“Registration is actually already closed,” said Holly Jones, director of development. “We aren’t able to have any more people sign up for it. But it will be really fun.” 

Area residents who would like to run the race unregistered, without timing or a T-shirt, are more than welcome to do so. People can still run their own course and support the Turkey Trot and the CCFB. 

“There’s going to be five different courses around the county,” said Jones. “We also have the option to just do the Turkey Trot remotely as well. They’re kind of unofficial courses. We just wanted to provide some different 5K routes for people to do on Thanksgiving morning.

“We’re doing it in different spots around the county to make sure that there’s not too many people on any given trail,” she said. “We’re just trying to make it a little more fun and just completely remote so you can do it on your own.”

Those who volunteer at the CCFB work year round to help put food on the table of those in need. But this year the “need” has been much larger according to Jones.

The CCFB is a regional food bank that distributes over eight million pounds of food and 6.7 million meals a year. They partner with 43 other groups with 130 distribution sites to serve the food insecure in our community. They estimate there are roughly 65,000 hungry individuals in Clark County.

At the Clark County Food Bank, they receive millions of pounds of food from agencies and programs such as Oregon Food Bank, USDA, regional food drives, area farms and farmers markets, and local groceries stores. All of the donated food is then distributed to their partner agencies where hungry families can go directly to receive food.

According to Jones, the amount of food distributed each month is up by over 100,000 pounds per month compared to 2019. Additionally, the CCFB mobile distributions used to serve around 100 households per distribution. They are now averaging 200-300 each week.

The home deliveries have increased from 1-2 a month to around 200 a month. At the locations where meals are served, they have seen an increase of anywhere from 1,000-4,000 meals per month over last year.

From Camas to Battle Ground, downtown Vancouver to Woodland, the food bank supports 130 distribution sites located throughout Clark County. The agencies in their network are made up of churches, meal sites, shelters, and other independent nonprofit organizations whose missions align with theirs, to alleviate hunger and its root causes. With 10,000 food boxes given out every month, and 6.75 million meals served last year, these Partner Agencies are a critical link in distributing food to the 1-in-4 food insecure individuals in Clark County, reports the CCFB.

There are five different locations for this year’s Turkey Trot.  The time frame is 8-10 a.m. There is no registration or check-in required on the day of the event. Participants who pre-registered picked up their T-shirts and race numbers over the last couple days in a drive-in manner at the CCFB. Day of the event participants can begin their walk/run as soon as you show up. 

The Turkey Trot has been an annual event for nearly two decades. Last year’s event was a Klineline Park. Photo courtesy of Clark County Food Bank
The Turkey Trot has been an annual event for nearly two decades. Last year’s event was a Klineline Park. Photo courtesy of Clark County Food Bank

The Ridgefield event will start and end at Abrams Park parking lot near the walking bridge. Look for the Start/Finish signs near the walking bridge.

The Camas event will start and end  at the Camas Heritage Park, where people will travel the Heritage Trail along the south end of Lacamas Lake. 

The Lewisville Regional Park event north of Battle Ground starts and ends at the trailhead across the road from the guard shack. There is a $3 fee for parking in the park.

The Salmon Creek event will be at the Klineline Park. There is a $3 parking fee. The VGSA Parking Lot has free parking. The start will be across the bridge next to the bathrooms by Klineline Pond.

The downtown Vancouver event will start and end at the new pier. There is plenty of parking in the area and there is no charge for any parking on Thanksgiving day. The course will run east along Columbia Way and the north bank of the Columbia River before turning around.

Maps and instructions for all five courses can be found here

The CCFB is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. For those who choose not to run, donations are always welcome either via their website or mailed to the Clark County Food Bank, 6502 NE 47th Ave., Vancouver, WA 98661.

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About The Author

John is a retired airline pilot, serving Delta for over 31 years. Prior to Delta, he served in the US Air Force for 11 and a half years; three and a half years as a Public Affairs Officer and eight years as a pilot. John flew multiple airplanes around the world for Delta, retiring as a B-767 Captain. During his 31 years at Delta, John served as a member of the pilot’s union leadership, representing the Portland-based pilots for five years. John got involved in area politics during the Columbia River Crossing debate. He became a citizen activist, speaking out against wasteful spending and fighting for common sense transportation solutions. He ran for the Washington state legislature twice, a Representative position in 2014 and Senate in 2020. John is the eldest of six children. He remains extremely close with members of his family and lives in Oregon and Washington. He has 14 nieces and nephews and a growing number of “grands” in the next generation. John has enjoyed skiing, scuba diving, travel, and time on his Harley when he’s not busy with local issues or flying.

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