Turkey Trot leaves Helpline House stuffed with donations

More than 1,200 Turkey Trot participants, a dozen local businesses and volunteers raised a record $35,000 from the Thanksgiving Day event to benefit Helpline House at this year’s benefit.

Island Fitness Owner Michael Rosenthal, who spearheaded the event, presented the check recently to Maria Metzler, executive director of Helpline House.

Officials with the nonprofit said the generous donation will be used for the nonprofit’s social services programs to help Island residents.

“We love the Turkey Trot! What a fun way to come and support this community, while seeing friends and neighbors and getting a morning run in,” Metzler said.

“We’re so pleased everyone comes out on a chilly November morning to benefit Helpline House, but really to benefit the Bainbridge Island community. We’re so grateful to our partners, Island Fitness, for organizing and staffing the event,” she added.

Metzler, who also served on the Turkey Trot organizing committee, took over as executive director of Helpline House in 2018. Michael and Alexa Rosenthal, who became the organizing sponsors of the annual Thanksgiving Day event two years ago, had some big shoes to fill after Turkey Trot organizers Ann Browning and Jennifer Campbell retired.

But the Rosenthals wanted to carry on the family friendly event, especially because it has benefited Helpline House the past 10 years.

With the help of Island Fitness professional trainer Brenda Prickett and Helpline’s Debbie Stearns, the 2019 Turkey Trot was a huge success with 1,245 runners and walkers, many clad in Turkey-day costumes.

Organizers also said there were nearly 100 teams participating.

The Turkey Trot has raised nearly $230,000 for Helpline since its inception in 2010, when a record Northwest snow and ice storm nearly canceled the event.

“We love supporting this event with these other local small businesses and the volunteers; it feels like a real partnership, and the more than 1,200 people who came outside on Thanksgiving morning to have fun, exercise and support Helpline House,” Rosenthal said.

He said the event would not have been as successful without the generous support of local businesses, including Ihland Garden Dental, A Kitchen That Works, Wildernest, Island Fitness; foundation sponsors that include New Motion Physical Therapy, and Bainbridge Dental/Bell Thompson DDS; mainstreet sponsors including BI Parks and Recreation, Town & Country Markets, and Pac Westy; and storefront sponsors, Adplanet, Tousley Brain Stephens, PLLC. Clif Bar & Co. were in-kind sponsors for the Turkey Trot.

Rosenthal also thanked Race Timer Rob Whitacre, photographer David Cohen and nearly 50 Turkey Trot volunteers, including committee members Myra Howrey and Karen West.

Helpline House is a nonprofit agency that provides a range of social services to Bainbridge residents.

Founded in 1968 as Fishline, a volunteer emergency aid program, the organization reincorporated as Helpline House in 1973. Initially, the emergency program addressed basic needs via operating a food bank and providing transportation assistance.

Helpline House’s services have grown to include information and referral to local, regional and national resources, as well as case management, short-term counseling, a food bank, medical equipment lending and limited financial assistance for essential needs. For more information, visit www.helplinehouse.org.

Turkey Trot leaves Helpline House stuffed with donations