EASTHAMPTON — A five-kilometer Thanksgiving Day road race will raise money for the Easthampton Community Center’s food pantry, which provides meals and groceries to those in need.

The “Give “Em the Bird 5K” kicks off Nov. 26 at 8:30 a.m. from Millside Park at 2 Ferry St.

The Easthampton Community Center at 12 Clark St. took a budget hit this spring when Mayor Karen Cadieux and the City Council eliminated a $20,000 contribution to the food pantry program. Funding was later partially restored, and various community efforts, including a “crowdfunding” push, also raised thousands. However, the need is still great, said Easthampton Community Center director Robin Bialecki

Bialecki had words of praise for residents Poulin, Patrick Brough, and Tom Raffensperger, who banded together to organize the race: “We’re so grateful to everyone who’s making this happen, including our volunteers and business sponsors.”

Registration is $25 through November 24, and $30 on race day. Online registration closes at 8:00 p.m. November 24. Race day registration and race packet pick-up is from 7:15 to 8:00 a.m. on race day. The race will be chip-timed.

Poulin said he has became increasingly aware over the past few years of the good work that the Community Center does, and how many people rely on them to get by.

“It’s really amazing to me how many hardworking people in our communities struggle just to put food on their tables,” he said. “The race just seems like the right cause on the right day at the right place and time.”

Both runners and walkers are welcome.

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