Silicon Valley Turkey Trot returns for its 15th year
The Applied Materials Silicon Valley Turkey Trot raises money for five charities that fight hunger, homelessness and promote healthy communities. Photo courtesy of Silicon Valley Leadership Group Foundation.

Bright and early on Thanksgiving, the Silicon Valley Leadership Group Foundation will hold its 15th annual Silicon Valley Turkey Trot in downtown San Jose with more than 25,000 runners from across the country.

The Turkey Trot has become the largest in the world, serving different charitable programs that model the Silicon Valley Leadership Group Foundation’s theme of “Health, Hunger, and a Home.” The SVLG, which organizes the event, last year raised $934,000 with the help of 40 staff members and nearly 2,200 volunteers on Thanksgiving morning.

Celebrating its 15th year of giving back to the community, this year’s challenge is to raise $1 million. In partnership with Applied Materials, the race has raised a total of $8.7 million in the past 14 years with the proceeds going directly to local charities. The event is a family-oriented environment for community members who want to give back, organizers say, as tens of thousands of people brave the cold — many wearing creative and colorful costumes — to line the streets of San Jose for the iconic run to benefit those in need.

“The Turkey Trot is a bridge-builder, engaging individuals and families who have the interest and the means to participate, who directly help individuals and families who may be less financially fortunate than many of us,” said Race Director and Silicon Valley Leadership Group CEO Carl Guardino.

The proceeds of the race this year will benefit the following organizations: Second Harvest Silicon Valley, Housing Trust Silicon Valley, Healthier Kids Foundation, The Health Trust and Second Harvest Santa Cruz.

“Their support allows us to move forward our mission to build health equity in Silicon Valley by ensuring everyone has the opportunity to be healthy – especially the most vulnerable in our community,” said Michele Lew, CEO of The Health Trust. “When I think of the Applied Materials Silicon Valley Turkey Trot, a smile comes across my face. I love that those of us who participate in the Turkey Trot have the opportunity to improve our own health and improve the health of others in our community.”

Silicon Valley Turkey Trot has allowed the Health Trust to facilitate and provide more than 1,500 wellness and health education workshops for those living with chronic conditions, Lew added.

Within the last six years, the Turkey Trot has also helped the Healthier Kids Foundation complete 305,000 health screenings for children.

“They helped us assist all children in enrolling in health insurance and now that 98% of children in the Silicon Valley have coverage, their help is assisting us in aiding parents in breaking down barriers to their children’s health needs,” said CEO Kathleen King. “Together we want all children healthy, happy and ready to learn.”

Those who are interested in participating in the race can register here.

“For people who want to build community, help the needy and start their holiday season in a fun and healthy way, our Silicon Valley Turkey Trot is a great way to accomplish all three goals,” Guardino told San José Spotlight. “In addition, it is still the best excuse for that third slice of pie on Thanksgiving Day.”

Contact San José Spotlight intern Arianna Ramirez at ramirez.arianna20@gmail.com or follow @ariaram98 on Twitter.

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