PALM DESERT, Calif. -- - Just shy of 2,000 people and pets of all ages walked nearly three miles down El Paseo, Palm Desert, in the Martha's Village and Kitchen Annual Thanksgiving 5K Thursday morning.
"It's a great way to start Thanksgiving Day," said Riverside County Supervisor John Benoit. "Hopefully a few folks will burn a few calories and then they can make it up later in the day."
With a goal of $300,000, the rescue mission raised $90,000 in pre-registration alone. On top of that, Riverside County donated $40,000. They won't have a final tally until they are able to factor in the total cost of the run.
"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!"
While the race got competitive (the second place winner had never lost a 5K - times are still being tallied at print), some runners really put things into perspective this Thanksgiving.
"A lot of people can't run, and they don't have legs, so it's good we at least just be out here." said La Quinta Middle School sixth grader, Mikka Vonscherr.
Standing in front of the line prior to the race, we caught up with two marines who shared how thankful they are to be back on American soil.
"We're just really thankful to be home," shared Cpl. Andy Jensen, stationed at Camp Pendleton. "Last year we were gone for the holidays at the worst place ever, so just to be here and thinking about those guys and kids out there whose dads are gone... This is for you."
"Just kinda thinking about the guys over there, our buddies. We were over there last year so it's good to do it for them. Think about them, and be thankful for what we have in America," said Cpl. Nathan Derge.
Derge had a message to people whose loved ones are over seas this holiday season.
"It's going to be hard. We miss them. They miss you. Just keep in touch, and don't forget them."
For more on Martha's Village and Kitchen, visit MarthasVillage.org.
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