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For the past five years, Ohio Valley Goodwill has been a feature at the annual Thanksgiving Day Race held in downtown Cincinnati. Each year, race participants have been cheered on by Goodwill cheerleaders during the race and entertained by musical volunteers, Mark Macomber and Michael Flannery. The fun aspects of Goodwill’s participation have been many but what race participants have become more aware of is the importance of the organization’s mission in the Greater Cincinnati community.
Earning a reputation as the largest coat donation drive in the country; each year, Thanksgiving Day race enthusiasts bring a cold weather clothing item to donate. In many cases, families that have made the annual Thanksgiving Day Race a tradition will all bring and donate items to support the cause. Stationed at both the start of the race at Paul Brown Stadium and Mile 2, Goodwill has been pleased to receive an average of 5,000 pounds of donated coats and other cold weather gear each year that the organization has been involved. The total to date is more than 25,000 pounds of donations which are then used to support Goodwill’s mission of providing employment and training services to people with disabilities and our nation’s veterans in the Greater Cincinnati community.
“We could not be more grateful for our partnership with the annual Thanksgiving Day Race and the support and generosity of the Greater Cincinnati community during this important holiday time of the year,” said Sharon Hannon, Goodwill Interim Marketing Director and event coordinator. “The items collected at the race are then sold in our network of Goodwill stores and help to support our mission of putting people to work,” added Hannon. Thanksgiving Day Race director Julie Isphording has become so passionate about supporting Goodwill’s mission in the community that she was featured in a television commercial with one of the individuals that Goodwill supports.
This year’s Thanksgiving Day Race will serve as the prelude to the occasion of Ohio Valley Goodwill’s celebration of its 100 years of service next year in the Greater Cincinnati community. Over its almost 100 year history, the organization has helped thousands of people with disabilities and our nation’s veterans to get jobs and achieve personal success. Last year alone, Goodwill helped more than 3,400 people through its programs and services and assisted 914 people to obtain jobs.
In honor of its upcoming centennial celebration next year, Goodwill’s theme for its donation stations will be “giving 100%” both in terms of commitment to the race and fitness but also, to our community. Goodwill’s donation trailers will proudly display banners proclaiming the 100th anniversary celebration and Goodwill cheerleaders will model 100th anniversary cold weather gear.
“It’s really incredible to think about the number of lives that Goodwill has helped to change over its 100 year history,” said Michael Flannery, Public Information Officer, and volunteer musician for the Thanksgiving Day Race. “The best part is that the Greater Cincinnati community is really in part responsible for those outcomes through the donations it gives to Goodwill. The Thanksgiving Day Race is another great chance for people to give to support such a great cause,” added Flannery.
To join Ohio Valley Goodwill for this year’s Thanksgiving Day Race, visit www.thanksgivingdayrace.com and sign up today! Don’t forget to bring a donation to share and give this year’s race your 100% effort!