NEWINGTON - Frigid temperatures did not keep a large group in the northwestern corner of town indoors this Thanksgiving.
Carrying cans of soup, boxes of noodles and envelopes of cash, more than 100 people gathered in Eagle Park around 9 a.m. It was there that they began a two-mile journey around the neighborhood.
The eighth annual Turkey Trot generated two cars full of non-perishable foods and $2,000 - all donated to Newington’s Department of Human Services.
The town distributed Thanksgiving baskets to 400 financially strained households ahead of the holiday. Afterwards, the need to refill the shelves of the Newington Food Bank is dire.
For almost a decade, families who live around Eagle Park have been helping fill that need through their annual Thanksgiving walk. The event gets larger each year as local teachers, friends and relatives join the group.
“It just goes to show what a little effort can do to help a bunch of people,” said Abigail Molloy, one of a handful of Turkey Trot organizers.
As members of the National Honor Society at Newington High School, Molloy, Maggie Callahan and Daniel Pestrichello worked on the event as their service project.
“We passed out fliers and just helped spread the word,” Callahan explained.
Participants chose to either walk or run the route. A few skate boards and bicycles also appeared.
“Everyone was happy and smiling. I didn’t even hear anyone complain about the cold even though it was freezing out,” Callahan said. “It was just nice to see everyone being so giving.”
Someone set up a grill in the park for people to stand around if they felt too cold. At the very least, there was an abundance of sunshine.
Thanksgiving and the Turkey Trot always take place during the late November weather, which is typically up in the air. A few years ago, icy roads made for a treacherous trot. Some years have brought more mild temperatures.
Organizers encourage everyone in town to participate next year and every year.
“It’s really awesome and it’s an easy thing to do,” Molloy said.
Michelle Saindon is one of the walk’s founders. It was her daughter Carly’s National Honor Society service project last year.
This week, a few volunteers planned to drive to Town Hall to deliver donations.
“It feels really amazing,” Callahan said.
Erica Drzewiecki can be reached at 860-801-5097 or firstname.lastname@example.org.