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Middle School’s 12th Annual Turkey Trot Helps Harvest Hope at a Time of Critical Need

Friday, October 23, 2015

​Heathwood Middle School students have raised money for Harvest Hope Food Bank through their annual Turkey Trot for more than a decade. But this year’s donations will be especially timely as Harvest Hope continues to help South Carolina families recover from all the effects of the recent flooding.

The Turkey Trot brings all Middle School students together for several hours to walk laps on Heathwood’s track in support of Harvest Hope. Students ask friends and family members for donations, and corporate sponsors also help out with donations of cash for Harvest Hope or food and drinks for the walkers. Since it began in 2004, the Turkey Trot has raised over $113,000 to help feed South Carolina families. The goal for this year is to raise at least $13,000, which would provide almost 70,000 meals.

The 2015 Turkey Trot will take place Tuesday, November 24 from 9:00 — 11:45 a.m. Students can walk, run, jog, skip, or dance their laps around the track. Last year, the students walked a total of 4,010 laps, for a total of over 1000 miles and an average of 4.6 miles per student.

For students, the Turkey Trot is more than an opportunity to give back. It’s also a chance to practice speaking knowledgeably about a topic they’ve studied and to translate learning into real-world action. All Middle School students have toured Harvest Hope this year and learned about the impact it has on our community. As they solicit and collect donations, students share what they have learned with a wider audience and gain hands-on experience in setting and achieving goals. That, says Middle School Dean of Students Rich Edwards, is why the Turkey Trot is an ideal service learning opportunity:  “It allows students to be involved, to get enthusiastic, and to be social in a safe environment while being productive. The students love the chance to work at a common goal with friends.”

For Harvest Hope, Turkey Trot donations always arrive at a time of need as the food bank heads into the difficult winter months. But this year, as Harvest Hope has been playing a vital role in flood relief efforts, the need is even greater than usual. In addition to the many families directly impacted by the floods, countless others have suffered financial hardship in other ways, including lost wages or sharing scarce resources with others who were impacted.

That, says 8th grader Kate Falvey, President of the MS Leadership Council, is why she’s always loved getting to participate in the Turkey Trot. “It really lets you see what it feels like to help out and have an impact on your community.”

Parents who want to help can do so in many ways, Edwards says:

  • Make a donation—Checks should be made out to Harvest Hope Food Bank and can be given to any Middle School student by Nov. 19
  • Purchase a 12th Annual Turkey Trot t-shirt for $13. Middle School students will have order forms
  • Be a corporate sponsor—contact Dr. Edwards at edwardsr@heathwood.org
  • Volunteer your time to help during the Turkey Trot
  • Donate food or drinks to provide snacks for walkers
  • Come and walk the track with us!