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Runners take off from the starting line at the third annual Turkey Trot on Nov. 28. Photo submitted.

Originally published: 2013-12-11 10:45:51
Last modified: 2013-12-11 10:47:34

Turkey Trot, Hunger Games raise $23K

by Staff Reports

Two annual events that support the Hospitality House recently broke records, collecting more than 3,400 pounds of food and raising more than $23,000 to fight hunger locally.

The third annual ASU Hunger Games and the third annual High Country Turkey Trot, held in late November, are designed to raise awareness about hunger in Watauga County and collect desperately needed food supplies.

Sponsored by ASU's Appalachian and the Community Together, the Hunger Games are based on the popular book series.

For three weeks, students collect cans to be one of 24 chosen to compete in the games. On the day of the games, audience members are encouraged to donate cans to purchase a "lifeline" for their favorite competitors.

Doubling their goal of 1,500 cans, the Hunger Games was the largest good drive donation at the Hospitality House to date. The cans dropped off equaled 2,900 pounds of food.

"This year's Hunger Games had a lot of skilled tributes who gave it their all," said creator Chris Criqui. "There was a lot of healthy competitive spirit, and I think some friendships were formed on the field. I'm so thankful that so many people were willing fight hunger and have fun while doing it. I'm blessed to have such a talented and hard-working committee to work with me, and I hope this event continues and grows after I graduate."

On Thanksgiving Day, more than 550 pounds of food were added to the Hospitality House pantry as runners and walkers braved the cold at the Turkey Trot.

More than 750 participants registered for the event, and the competitive 5K timed run had runners and walkers from 22 states, 58 towns and cities in North Carolina and two foreign countries.

Hearts of Hospitality, the ambassador group for Hospitality House, organized the event, with 100 percent of proceeds benefitting men, women and children living in crisis, poverty and homelessness.

The event raised more than $23,000 this year for the organization.

"Even though the weather kept on-site registration lower than we anticipated, we still had a tremendous turnout and raised more money and food than ever before," said director of development Todd Carter.

The Bread of Life Community Kitchen serves three meals a day, 365 days a year, and the food box program fed approximately 6,000 people last year.

"We are currently averaging 40 food boxes a day here at the Hospitality House, and these donations will help us serve those families in need and keep food on their tables," said Hospitality House project manager Brittany Johnson. "We are so grateful for our community who continues to make a difference by joining us in the fight against poverty and hunger."

The Hospitality House serves seven counties in northwestern North Carolina to help those living in crisis, poverty and homelessness rebuild their lives.