Connecting With Community: Drumstick Dash

Published:
Updated:

INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) - There is a good way to get some exercise before sitting down to your Thanksgiving meal - and help those in need at the same time.

The Drumstick Dash has become a Thanksgiving tradition. Bright and early, runners and walkers pound the pavement through Broad Ripple.

"We started out, hopefully, to have a race with about 500-600 people. Year one, we had 1,300, we were scratching our heads then, going 'Where did all these people come from?' and last year, we had 19,300, so we're just overwhelmed by how the community has turned out and received this event," said Steve Kerr with Wheeler Mission, who founded the event.

The Drumstick Dash is a massive fundraiser for Wheeler Mission.

"Last year, we raised...(it) was our first million-dollar year, combined of cash and gifts in kind, and 100 percent of the proceeds go to Wheeler Mission to help provide services for our homeless men, women, and children," Kerr said.

The mission provides long-term programs for men and women who are addicted to alcohol and drugs.

"We figure anybody can house the homeless and feed and clothe homeless people, but if we're not offering them long-term, lasting solutions, then we're not doing our job that we were called to do 123 years ago," Kerr said.

The mission is busy, 24 hours a day, with lives being changed.

"Ten years ago, I came through the front doors of Wheeler Mission. I was addicted to alcohol and found myself homeless, I lost everything. Thankfully, Wheeler was here to take me in, in really, the darkest moment of my life," said Brian Crispin.

Crispin is now giving back. He's worked on staff at Wheeler Mission since 2008.

"Just to be able to look across the table at someone that's in a position that I was in, a position of hopelessness, not knowing what their next day was going to look like and be able to say, 'Look, I've been there, I've done that. And there is a way out, there is hope'," he said.

But the mission still needs help from Hoosiers. They have 360 beds at two downtown Indianapolis locations, and it's still not enough.

"Sadly, we are turning away women every day. We have women calling for a bed and we don't have a bed," Kerr said.

To help out, go to DrumstickDash.org and sign up for the run/walk Thanksgiving morning. A few hours of your time on Thanksgiving can help change a life.