PALM DESERT, Calif. -- -

More than 2,500 people and pets of all ages walked three miles down El Paseo, Palm Desert, in the Hightower's Annual Thanksgiving 5K benefiting Martha's Village and Kitchen Thursday morning.

"The 5k helps us earn money for food services programs, for hot meals programs that we serve everyday to the public," said Bob Therieau, Mission Advancement Team. "We serve a quarter of a million meals per year, and this funds that!"

This is the first year that Hightower Advisors took title sponsorship of the event. Therieau says this is a huge help to the charity. Hightower will now pay the cost to run the 5K, leaving all registration fees and donations to go directly to Martha's Village and Kitchen.

Registration increased by more than 600 runners and walkers from 2012.

On top of meal services, Martha's expects to distribute over 1,000 holiday food baskets to non-resident families in need for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

For more on Martha's Village and Kitchen, visit www.MarthasVillage.org.

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