Seattle Turkey Trot to end after 15 years

The non-profit decided to retire the event citing an extensive amount of time, resources, and logistics.

SEATTLE — The Turkey Trot Tradition in Seattle is trotting no more. The Ballard Food Bank, which has hosted the Seattle Turkey Trot for 15 years, said it’s time to say goodbye.

“We just decided there were other things we could do to raise funds that didn’t take so much time and energy away from our mission,” said Colleen Martinson with the Ballard Food Bank.

While the trot was a six-figure fundraiser for the organization Martinson said logistically it was complicated and took a lot of resources during one of the food bank’s busiest times of year.

“People are doing [a turkey trot] on that day because they’re about to eat a whole bunch of food. We’re thinking about the people that are having a harder time accessing that food,” said Martinson.

Inflation will likely have an impact this Thanksgiving. The market research firm IRI released data Tuesday, which estimates a Thanksgiving meal will cost 13.5% more than in 2021. The research says pies are 20.3% more expensive and meat 8.1%.

“Oh my gosh, the reality is the prices of food are really skyrocketing. We’re all seeing that and the food bank is seeing that,” said Martinson.

The Ballard Food Bank is having a harder time keeping shelves stocked since the number of visitors has doubled in recent years. Before the pandemic, the non-profit saw roughly 3,000 people a month. That number has since climbed to more than 6,000 people.

“This year we project we’re going to be spending about $1.5 million on food,” said Martinson, “That’s a huge amount compared to before the pandemic where it was $300,000 a year.”

She said the food bank will spend about $7,000 this year to ensure they have turkeys and hams for families.

As far as fundraising goes, the Ballard Food Bank replaced the Seattle Turkey Trot fundraiser with the Ballard Bites and Brews festival it hosts in the summer. However, Martinson said you don’t need an official trot to turkey trot this Thanksgiving.

“With 27 foodbanks in Seattle that really need support, of course, I encourage people to donate to their local foodbank but also consider organizations like Chief Seattle Club or Real Rent Duwamish,” said Martinson.