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STOCKTON, Calif. (KTXL) — Families bundled up for the cold and celebrated Thanksgiving morning by participating in Stockton’s 17th Annual Run & Walk Against Hunger, sponsored by FOX40.

People of all ages gathered together outside the Stockton Arena to raise money for the Stockton/San Joaquin Emergency Food Bank.

“It’s our one and only major fundraiser that we have for the year,” explained Alesha Pichler, the community relations manager for the Emergency Food Bank.

“Get the exercise and also give back to the community,” said participant Carl Arevalo, who was joined by his children. “It also feels great to be out here with a bunch of people again and be a part of a social event for Thanksgiving.”

Organizers set a goal of $150,000 in donations to the food bank. With 1,700 to 1,800 pre-registered runners, Pichler said they were nearly there by Thursday morning.

“Hopefully, with the walkup runners that we’re going to have — we’re anticipating about 200 to 400 walkups — we should be able to meet our goal. We’re really, really excited,” she told FOX40.

The Run & Walk went virtual last year as the food bank experienced growing numbers of people in need. Emergency Food Bank CEO Leonard Hansen told FOX40 they served nearly 178,000 people in 2020, which was 43% more than the year before.

Tuesday morning, they surpassed that number by 10,000 as volunteers came together at the San Joaquin County Fairgrounds to help distribute 2,500 turkeys to families.

Click or tap here to donate to the Emergency Food Bank