November is just around the corner and with it the rush of the holiday season. Many of us hope to devote some of that time to staying in shape and serving others. We are fortunate that opportunities to do both are made available right here in our neighborhood by Laurel Advocacy and Referral Services.
LARS helps families in crisis here in Laurel achieve and maintain stability and self-sufficiency. A wonderful chance to support that mission is the LARS 12th annual Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, Nov. 24. Registration is now open for this event, which has become a Thanksgiving morning tradition for many in the area. Last year, more than 750 runners and an enthusiastic fan base filled the streets of Old Town to raise $45,000 to support needy individuals in our community and preemptively burn off some Turkey Day calories. The Turkey Trot begins at 8 a.m. at McCullough Field and includes both a 5k through Old Town and a 1-mile fun walk. Registration is $35 per person until Oct. 31 and $40 per person from Nov. 1 until race day. Learn more or register online at laureladvocacy.org/turkey-trot.html .
LARS is hard at work on its other holiday programs. The group is holding a food drive for its holiday meal baskets, which it expects to distribute to more than 250 families and seniors. Unexpired holiday food items or grocery gift cards can be dropped off at LARS, 311 Laurel Ave., on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. or Mondays from 5 to 7:30 p.m.
Registration is also open for individuals or groups that would like to provide gifts to children and families in need as part of the LARS 2016 Holiday Program. Last year, Christmas wish lists for 426 children were fulfilled and an additional 117 children received loose gifts. If you would like to volunteer, donate or receive more information, you can sign up online at laureladvocacy.org/holiday-program.html or call program coordinator Alli Milner at 301-776-0442 Ext. 34.
If your family needs extra help this holiday season, Milner encourages you to visit LARS during its business hours listed above to register for the holiday programs. The group will continue to accept applications until it reaches capacity.
Be sure to bundle up and head out to Harvest Moon Hayride along the Patuxent River on Friday, Nov. 4 from 6 to 9 p.m. The event, sponsored by the city's Department of Parks and Recreation, will also feature drinks, snacks, entertainment and a bonfire. The hayride begins at the parking lot at the corner of Route 1 and Main Street. The cost is $3.50 per person, while kids under 2 years old ride free. Discounted rates are available for pre-registered groups of 10 or more. Call 301-725-7800 for more information.
St. Mary of the Mills Parish will host its annual Christmas Bazaar on Saturday, Nov. 5 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The day includes the Granny's Attic rummage sale, children's activities, photos with Santa, international food, vendor sales, auction baskets, raffles, a wine grab, bake sale, music and more. Most of the offerings will be at the Msgr. Keesler Parish Center, 800 Main St., and Granny's Attic will open at 8 a.m., an hour before the other activities.