Skaneateles Turkey Trot makes major donation

Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on all the things that one is thankful for.

But, in Skaneateles, it is also a time to go for a leisurely run and then drop a few dollars in a hat to benefit a local charity.

The Annual Turkey Trot in Skaneateles is never planned, but the crowd seems to have grown considerably over the years, said Dennis Owen, who is known to many as the event's grand marshal.

"They try to call me the grand marshal, but I say, 'No, I'm the grand turkey,'" Owen said.

Aside from Owen, the Turkey Trot is possible with the help of Kevin Cahill, Jimmy Gregg, Bill Marquardt and Jimmy Strodel.

According to Owen, the 2009 trot brought out the largest crowd yet -- around 300 people. This year, the guys who have taken charge of the event also raised considerably more money than last year, a total of $824. In 2008, the group brought in $710.

Where does all that money go to? To a great cause -- the Skaneateles Ecumenical Food Pantry.

{Q}"We shouldn't assume Skaneateles is a wealthy community," Owen said.{Q}

Judy Gelston, chairperson of the food pantry, said the money the Turkey Trot donated to the pantry helped feed 288 people.

Gelston said she learned of the Turkey Trot last year, and this year she was able to hear the runners go by from her home.

While the food pantry has received funds from the event in the past, she said last year was her first year as chair of the pantry and the donation came as a total surprise. This year's donation was just as much a surprise and a much-needed boost for the pantry.

However, Gelston said the funds can't be factored in each year because there may come a year when the donation isn't there. In other words, she's not counting her turkeys before they're hatched.

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