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2nd annual Turkey Trot set for Thanksgiving Day

Heartland Home's clients such as, from left, Joan Huff, Verna Dormanen, Tim DeMarce and Joyce Kegler benefit from fundraising events like the Turkey Trot. (Nicole Vik/Enterprise)

Throughout the year Heartland Homes puts efforts toward raising money to benefit their clients and the Turkey Trot is just one of several events.

Heartland Homes' 2nd Annual 5K Turkey Trot will take place on Thursday, Nov. 24 at 9 a.m. The fun run and walk begins and finishes at Essentia Clinic/CHI St. Joseph's Lobby in Park Rapids.

Heartland Homes was first established in 1978, and is a Not-For Profit 501C-3 tax exempt organization dedicated to servicing adults with developmental disabilities. The organization has gradually grown over the years and now provides services for over 60 clients. Heartland Homes owns and operate six houses in Park Rapids with four clients to a house, as well as clients living independently in the community.

According to Heartland Homes' Executive Director Bill Simpson, monies raised from events such as the Turkey Trot gives clients the opportunity to go to camp, concerts or take trips to the metro to attend Twins games, Vikings games, Lynx games or Timberwolves games, or any various activity that they may not otherwise have the means to participate in.

"Our clients all work for the most part and they all get assistance to supplement the portion of their income that pays for room and board, so many of our clients don't have the money for extras," Simpson said. "This helps to give them opportunities to do extra things that their budget might not allow them to do. That's what we all live for, is to do some fun stuff so why shouldn't they?"

In a typical year, Heartland Homes will try to raise $20,000 from fundraisers and private donations.

According to Simpson, there are so many unique things that can come up such as needed repairs to help maintain the houses or purchasing a van to transport clients and the majority of that money comes from the funds raised by the generosity of the public.

"There are always things, projects that come up at the houses that we need to maintain," he said.

Last year was the first year for the Turkey Trot, temperatures were in the low 20s but with over 100 participants the Turkey Trot raised close to $3,600 making it a successful first year and an important fundraiser for Heartland Homes.

The event is sponsored by various local businesses and the race course is uniquely shaped like a turkey. This year, participants receive a long sleeve t shirt and a koozie. Interested parties can pre-register for the Turkey Trot by contacting Heartland Homes at 732-4572.