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INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Runners can lace up to fight hunger this Thanksgiving.

While some Thanksgiving events have been canceled because of COVID-19, the Drumstick Dash hosted by the Wheeler Mission is still happening Nov. 26, Thanksgiving Day.

The Drumstick Dash is one of Wheeler Mission’s biggest fundraisers of the year. Organizers with the event said the need in the community created by COVID-19 has reinforced their mission.

This year, the Drumstick Dash is celebrating 18 years of tradition. Every Thanksgiving around 20,000 people lace up their sneakers to run in the Drumstick Dash. Organizers worked with the Marion County Public Health Department to assure this year’s event is safe and follows U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.

Steve Kerr, Wheeler Mission’s executive vice president of advancement, said the 2020 event is more important than ever. “Especially with the pandemic, the need financially to provide for those experiencing homelessness is high.”

The event normally brings in $1 million toward the Wheeler Mission’s goal to provide services to the homeless community. This year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the run’s organizers made several changes to keep participants safe. Changes include limiting the number of participants to 20% of normal, two separate start times, and encouragement to wear masks before and after the race but not while running or walking. There’s also a virtual option.

Matt Duncan and his family run in the dash every year. He’s excited to continue the tradition. “I’m glad we are still able to put on events during these hard times. It shows it can’t crush our spirit. We just have to stay positive.”

Wheeler Mission’s Kerr said it’s important for the community to take care of each other. “Many of us are maybe one paycheck away from becoming homeless.”

Because organizers reduced the number of participants, they expect to lose around $300,000 compared to past events. It’s not too late to sign up online.

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Indiana coronavirus timeline

With information from the Indiana Department of Health through March 4, 2021, this timeline reflects updated tallies of deaths and positive tests prior to that date.