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Mt. Pleasant students do Turkey Trot as food bank fundraiser

| Saturday, Oct. 27, 2012, 1:36 a.m.
Students all carried tags that were stamped as each lap of the track was completed. Some students like Tabitha Cooper, 13, getting her tag stamped by teacher Lorraine Burd, got into the Halloween spirit. Marilyn Forbes | For the Daily Courier

Mt. Pleasant Junior High School students hit the track Friday afternoon to take part in the annual Turkey Trot Challenge.

The event challenges schools in Westmoreland County to raise money for the Westmoreland County Food Bank.

“I think that it's awesome,” said Mt. Pleasant Junior High School family and consumer science teacher and event coordinator Patty Smith. More than 300 students participated. “If every school district would do something even little, it would make a big difference.”

In 2006, the Westmoreland County Food Bank launched the Turkey Cup Challenge, sending out requests to all school districts.

Schools can set up any type of program to raise money.

“It's really easy to do,” Smith said. “I wish that I had the time to go to every school district in the area and tell them just how easy it is to put together. And they make such a different to families who need the help.”

Some students, such as Tabitha Cooper, 13, looked forward to the event. She also participated last year.

“I had a lot of fun last year,” Cooper said. “It's a nice way to make sure that people have something to eat on Thanksgiving.”

The WCFB is happy to have the help in raising money needed to purchase Thanksgiving vouchers that are given to families to purchase a holiday meal.

“Since the Turkey Cup Challenge's inception we have raised $157,194.28,” said WCFB Development Director Jennifer Miller. “So far we have eight schools, 4,632 children participating and it's not too late to sign up to participate.”

Not counting the total raised this year, the students at the Mt. Pleasant Junior High have raised $17,400.

“These kids raised over $17,000 and I think that is incredible,” Smith said. “That means that they helped to feed 1,700 families in Westmoreland County.”

Smith had about 20 junior high faculty members helping with the event. “I am so thankful to all the faculty,” Smith said, adding that she is also grateful to the administration for allowing the event to take place.

Smith will announce at the end of the county deadline how much was raised this year.

“This says something about the kids, the community and the parents,” said Smith.

Marilyn Forbes is a freelance writer.

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