Thanksgiving backpack collection a success

By Neal A. Johnson, UD Editor
Posted 12/1/22

LINN  — Freestyle Fitness and Nutrition owner Denise Coots led another successful event on Thanksgiving morning to combine physical activity with the collection of food for the Good …

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Thanksgiving backpack collection a success

Posted

LINN  — Freestyle Fitness and Nutrition owner Denise Coots led another successful event on Thanksgiving morning to combine physical activity with the collection of food for the Good Shepherd Food Pantry in Linn.

“I came up with the idea for this free community event last year and asked if Thriftway and Salon Dash would like to participate as sponsors,” said Coots, noting that this year’s event drew about double that of last year at almost 100 participants. “Thriftway posts the lists of items most needed and allows shoppers to purchase and place them in a bin in the front of the store in case they cannot participate on the day of the event.”

This year, Coots asked AK HIIT in Westphalia owners Derek and Abby Havens to join in the fun. “I thought if they could recruit some of their members, it would only help the food pantry even more,” Coots said. “They eagerly agreed and were able to recruit a lot of their members to join, which helped our overall number of participants. We had a friendly competition among our gyms on who had the most people signed up. In the end, we came up pretty even.”

On Thursday, before participants gathered for a traditional Thanksgiving meal, they gathered at Maguire Park with backpacks containing food items. They walked from the park to the food pantry and back.

Salon Dash owners Abby Shafer and Jenna Dudenhoeffer handed out water to participants along the way in front of their shop on Main Street.

“It is such a heartwarming event that tugs at the heartstrings of so many participants,” said Coots. “It is a great cause, and knowing we can help local community members in need really helps draw participants. Without a doubt, we collected substantially more than last year. Plus, we all get the added benefit of getting in some great fitness to jump-start our Thanksgiving Day. It’s a win-win. We are looking forward to growing this event even larger next year.”

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