WASHINGTON TERRACE — Participation in this year’s Thanksgiving Day Run/Walk will rely on the honor system.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, there will be no mass Thanksgiving Day gathering of joggers and walkers, the centerpiece of the annual event, a food drive and fundraiser for local food banks. Instead, participants “are encouraged to walk or run in the location of their choice,” according to a statement from Ogden Regional Medical Center, organizer of the charitable event.
Despite the change, the appeal for donations remains the same. The public is “strongly encouraged” to donate food to a local food bank, reads the statement. Monetary donations are also welcome. Because of the economic hit wrought by COVID-19, the need now is greater than ever, organizers say.
“We have so many who require help. By supporting these worthy organizations, we are able to reach out to others. This is the greatest sign of gratitude for our many blessings,” said Stephanie Mongeon, former director of mission and community relations for Ogden Regional Medical Center, or ORMC.
The entry fee for the event is traditionally a donation of food. This go-round, the public is encouraged to donate food or funds directly to the Ogden Rescue Mission, 2775 Wall Ave.; Lantern House, 269 W. 33rd St.; Catholic Community Services, 2504 F Ave.; or the Salvation Army, 2615 Grant Ave. The organizations are all in Ogden. Food donations may also be dropped off at the main entrance to Ogden Regional, 5475 S. 500 East in Washington Terrace.
With the dramatic change in the event for this year, Craig Bielik, the ORMC spokesman, said organizers worry about a dip in donations. When the weather’s good, the event has drawn as many as 1,300 participants. But he also noted that participation for some is a longstanding tradition.
“We’re hoping that our regular and faithful runners and walkers will understand the circumstances that caused this change, embrace the opportunity to do this a little differently this year, and most importantly continue to contribute food to those in our community who need it,” Mark Adams, the ORMC chief executive officer, said in a statement.
The event is also sponsored by the Newman Center at Weber State University, a student organization affiliated with the Catholic church. Donations may also be made to that organization and Charles Cummins, pastor for the group, will conduct an opening ceremony at 9 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 26, Thanksgiving day, to kick-off the fundraiser. It will be viewable via the ORMC Facebook page, facebook.com/OgdenRegional.
Lauren Navidomskis, the Lantern House director, said fundraisers like the Thanksgiving Day Run/Walk are needed. “There’s a huge need,” she said.