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BAY ST. LOUIS, MS (WLOX) -
A "Turkey Trot" will help to feed the needy in Hancock County over the holidays. It's a 5-K race and a one mile fun run to raise money for the Hancock County Food Pantry.
Participation for the early morning holiday event exceeded everyone's expectations.
The runners started talking turkey as they warmed up for the race.
"I need the pilgrim over here to stretch these ham strings for me they are a little tight this morning," said the turkey mascot for the event.
Runners of all ages raced to the finish line.
Organizer, Helene Loiacano said, "I'm thrilled to death. I said, 'I will be happy if I get 75 people out here' and we had with the one mile. We had 360 maybe 370 people out here. It's unbelievable."
A portion of the $15 registration fee and the food the runners donated will go to the Hancock County Food Pantry. Many of the participants said it was a great cause to cross the finish line for.
"To help people less fortunate we have so many blessings so much to be thankful for and other people don't. So it a good way to help them and it's good for the community," explained runner Rachel Rimmer.
Runner Darren Cuevas agreed.
"We're supposed to be able to take care of ourselves, but we're also supposed to be able to take care of others and this is a great way to do both take care of yourself by running and help those out that are less fortunate than us."
Food Pantry leaders say the support from the runners will go a long way in helping to feed the needy during the holidays.
"The food cost are going up. We have more and more people coming in and the more food we have donated the less food we have to raise money to buy food. There is a whole truck load of food over there. I'm going to guess it's about 1200 pounds of food which is quite a bit of food to come from one donation," said Ed Catone, Executive Director of the Hancock County Food Pantry.
"We drove an hour. Woke up late and still made it on time," said Marie Kimball.
For Kimball it was a family affair.
"Hope for the best, beat each other. I came in first out of my family, so it's all good," said Kimball.
"Here comes our first runner and it is a female," announced Loiacano.
Pass Christian resident Cory McGee crossed the finish line in 17 minutes and 45 seconds taking home the top prize.
"I'm on the cross country and track team at the University of Florida so I probably train five hours a day every day of the week so," explained McGee.
Her prize--a wish bone medallion and you guessed it, a Turkey. They are winnings she says she will donate back to the cause.
The Turkey Trot was such a huge success, organizers plan to make it an annual event.
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