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Drumstick Dash sets fundraising record

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About 13,200 people laced up their running shoes and headed to downtown Roanoke for the annual Thanksgiving morning event. They were accompanied by 650 dogs.

This year’s Drumstick Dash set a record for fundraising, in addition to marking the race’s 10-year anniversary.

The downtown 5K run and walk, a fundraiser for the Rescue Mission of Roanoke, brought in $251,320.

Some 13,200 people laced up their running shoes and headed to downtown Roanoke for the Thanksgiving morning event. They were accompanied by 650 dogs. Race registration has reached as high as 15,000 people, in 2012.

Race director Uneita Mathews has been involved with the Drumstick Dash since it first began. She said it’s been amazing to watch it grow into an event that attracts thousands.

“It has become a tradition for so many families,” Mathews said. “If you do it once, you’re going to do it again.”

The race is the Rescue Mission’s largest fundraiser. In its most recent Form 990, the nonprofit reported total revenue of $4.2 million.

Mathews attributed this year’s record fundraising to keeping expenses down and donations up. Participants are invited to make a donation in addition to the registration fee they must pay, Mathews said, and those donations are on the rise.

“People that participate are just being very generous with their time and their finances,” she said.

The money raised from the race goes toward the Rescue Mission’s food services department. Mathews said it covers the food budget — which includes not only food, but associated expenses like equipment — for an entire year.

“So we truly are moving our feet so others can eat,” Mathews said.

The Rescue Mission serves about 300,000 meals a year, she said.

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Casey Fabris covers business for The Roanoke Times, where she has been a reporter since 2015. Previously, Casey covered Franklin County. She can be reached at (540) 981-3234 or casey.fabris@roanoke.com.

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