By Judy Alexander

It would be hard to imagine the Tallahassee Turkey Trot without the big orange and white U-Haul truck parked near the registration area. In 1999, when Brian and I realized that we could no longer transport the Turkey Trot charity “haul” in the back of our old station wagon, a partnership was born and The U-Haul University Center at 2201 West Tennessee Street has been donating the use of a truck on Thanksgiving Day ever since. This year, I had the pleasure of working with the new General Manager Malysa Baucum.

Of course this truck and all it represents would not be necessary without the efforts of the runners and their families who bring non-perishable food items and other treasures to distribute to needy organizations like The Refuge House and The Shelter. I have to admit that after a year filled with worldwide catastrophes, most significantly hurricanes and earthquakes, I was worried about soliciting donations from people who have been giving to the point of “donor fatigue.” Whether it was because we implemented a tremendous idea of David’s by placing a flyer explaining what we needed, or because of the record number of people who attended the Turkey Trot, or because people just have giving hearts, or a combination of all three, I needn’t have been concerned as we had a record breaking year of giving!

The donations themselves were better quality than ever, too; we had huge quantities of baby wipes and diapers, toiletries, good clothes, blankets and coats. There was a better mix of food; we had pasta and sauce, macaroni and cheese, soups, stew, peanut butter and jelly, rice and lots of variety with which to make up individual boxes for needy families. Each year after sorting the donations, we have at least five or six bags of trash, but there were only two this year. It was truly heart-warming!

Our family has made gathering, sorting and delivering Turkey Trot donations a tradition on Thanksgiving Day; my three teenagers even look forward to it.

We will probably have to insist on (or pay for) a 17-foot truck next year…we had things piled to the roof…whoopee!

Many thanks to all of the schools, businesses and individuals that took it upon themselves to make this just one more successful part of a VERY successful Turkey Trot!