Pandemic shoots down Samaritan House Turkey Trot this year

The biggest fund-raiser for the Samaritan House on Station Avenue in Ashtabula is the annual Turkey Trot held on Thanksgiving Day. The Turkey Trot is canceled this year because of the pandemic. Anyone can donate to Ashtabula's only homeless shelter by calling 440-992-3178.

ASHTABULA — Area residents who usually take the opportunity to run off a few calories at the annual Samaritan House Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving Day will be disappointed this year.

The race, also known as the Main Avenue Miracle Mile, is canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic, said Steve Sargent, executive director of the Samaritan House, Ashtabula’s only homeless shelter. Proceeds from the race go to the Samaritan House.

This would have been the 22nd annual Turkey Trot.

“We sent out a letter asking our sponsors if they will still be able to sponsor us this year,” he said. “We’ve had about a dozen sponsors reply and we are also reaching out to the runners asking them if they would like to donate even though the race is canceled this year.”

Sponsors will have their name displayed on a plaque in the shelter, Sargent said.

Last year, more than 100 runners participated in the downhill race which traditionally starts atop Bunker Hill and ends at South Park, across from Perry Park News, on Main Avenue in downtown Ashtabula. Awards are given to the top male and female finishers in several age groups.

Last year, more than 100 runners turned out for the fund-raising event.

The downhill course has long been a favorite for local runners and walkers, Sargent said.

Sargent said the Turkey Trot is the Samaritan House’s biggest fundraiser of the year.

“It’s more than 20 years of an Ashtabula running tradition,” he said. “It’s the only Thanksgiving Day race in Ashtabula County.”

The Samaritan House is a five-bedroom, three-bath, brick home at 4125 Station Ave. that houses up to 14 homeless people at a time. Last year, it provided shelter to more than 200 people.

The shelter offers people a 30-day stay and provides food for three meals per day, though the residents do their own cooking.

As the staff prepares to provide shelter for men, women, children and families this winter, they need to stock up on supplies.

The shelter needs toilet paper, paper towels, garbage bags, bleach, aspirin, disinfecting spray, facial tissues, soap, socks, aluminum foil, coffee and coffee creamer.

For more information on Samaritan House or to donate, call Sargent at 440-992-3178.

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