Fundraising races, turkey event heat up Wolfeboro for winter
Forty-two kids and 192 adults jogged or strolled their way through town in three separate races that made up the 21st annual "Gift of Warmth" Turkey Trot, a collaborative effort between the town's Department of Parks and Recreation and the Wolfeboro Lions Club.
The event raises money to help people in the community with heating costs during the winter months. In all, the estimated $4,000 collected this weekend through race entry fees and the Turkey Plop raffle will benefit more than two dozen families, according to organizers.
Organizers also collected two canned goods from each participant to help the local food pantries.
Since the Lions Club established the Fuel Assistance Fund in 1991, more than $73,000 has been distributed to needy families.
The club teamed up with the Department of Parks and Recreation one year later in a union that made sense to both groups: Parks and Recreation knows how to orchestrate a racing event, and the Lions Club provides administrative support such as fund disbursement, community service and volunteers, according to Recreation Department Director Ethan Hipple.
"We couldn't do it without the Lions'," said Hipple. The Turkey Trot is one of five or six major fundraising foot races the department hosts each year in conjunction with five other Lakes Region towns, as part of the New Hampshire Run for Food Race Series, he said.
Diane Guerriere of the Lions Club she said on average, applicants approved for heating aid will receive between 100 and 125 gallons of fuel oil, and while the supply may not last all winter, it provides a "stop-gap" measure.
Guerriere was at race headquarters at Railroad Depot on Saturday, cheering on the kids as they came off their 1.2-mile run.
The weather was cool, clear and sunny during the race. Afterwards, entrants were treated to hot soup and rolls. La Boca Bakery in Wolfeboro donated 170 fresh rolls for the event, and the Wolfeboro Inn donated five gallons of Potato Cheddar Herb soup whipped up by sous chef Dale Raymond.
Another fun fundraiser was the Turkey Plop 50/50 raffle, for which individuals purchased a raffle ticket square that corresponded with a caged roaming area for a live turkey donated by the Lush Farm in Wolfeboro. Wherever the turkey plopped determined the corresponding winning square.
In all, 151 adult runners and 21 fast walkers completed the 3.2-mile course, and the youngsters ran for 1.2 miles.