This year's Thanksgiving Wattle in Grove City will be about both thanks and giving.

This year's Thanksgiving Wattle in Grove City will be about both thanks and giving.

Proceeds from the 5K run and walk again will benefit the Grove City Food Pantry, and a donation also will be made to the Grove City Gold Star Families Memorial Monument as a way of saying thank you to the Grove City Division of Police, event organizer Mark Sigrist said.

The fifth annual event will start at 9 a.m. Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 24, on Lamplighter Drive. The Primrose Children's Run will start at 8:30 a.m.

"We'll be planning a small ceremony before our event to give recognition to the police for all they do to protect the community," Sigrist said. "These days, it's more important than ever that we let law enforcement know that most people recognize and appreciate everything they do and the risks they take to make us safe in our community."

The Gold Star monument is one of the charitable causes Grove City police support, he said.

"They asked us to make a donation to the monument on their behalf," Sigrist said.

The food pantry has been a beneficiary of the Wattle since its inception.

"It's such a great volunteer organization that helps so many people in our community, Sigrist said.

The pantry serves an average of 275 families each month, said Don Swogger, one of the pantry's managers.

"We serve residents in the 43123, 43126 and 43146 ZIP codes who make appointments through HandsOn Central Ohio," he said. "Each family is able to make one visit a month to the pantry and receive a three-day supply of food."

Last year, the pantry received about $7,000 from the Wattle, as well as canned food donated by runners, Swogger said.

"Our annual budget is about $94,000, so $7,000 goes a long way to helping us fulfill our mission," he said.

The holiday season sees both the greatest number of families seeking assistance and the largest amount of financial and food donations, Swogger said.

"Starting with the Thanksgiving holiday, people really start thinking about 'giving,' " he said. "The donations we collect during the Thanksgiving and Christmas season and through Easter gets us through the rest of the year."

The entry fee for the Wattle is $35 per person, with a $5 discount for children 13 years or younger, adults 60 years or older and per person in group entries of four or more people (a one-time transaction).

"We've seen the number of entrants grow each year. This year we're expecting more than 2,000 people to participate," Sigrist said. "It's becoming a Thanksgiving morning tradition for a lot of families, something they can do together before the day's other activities."

The children's run is open to youngsters ages 10 and under and the $15 fee includes a T-shirt, cookie, juice, Happy Meal coupon and a medal. The entry deadline for the children's event is Nov. 18 or when the number of entrants reaches 200, whichever comes first.

The Wattle's festivities will include the presentation of the 2016 Thanksgiving Lifetime Achievement Award to Gary Leasure of Grove City.

Since moving to Grove City in 1978 to open Ace Truck Body, Leasure has served as chairman of the school levy campaign in 1994, a member of the South-Western school board and as part of the Grove City Chamber of Commerce, Westland Area Business Association, South-Western City Schools Educational Foundation and Success Beyond the Classroom.

"We always try to recognize the unassuming people who are behind the scenes but make a huge impact on our community," Sigrist said. "Gary is certainly one of those people."

More information about the Thanksgiving Wattle and online registration are available at thanksgivingwattle.com.

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