Eastbay’s Turkey Trot: A Decade of Making a Difference

Eastbay’s Turkey Trot: A Decade of Making a Difference

In 2010, Eastbay’s marketing team presented the idea of beginning a charity turkey trot in Wausau – for a company with roots in running and community, this seemed like a perfect combination.

“The turkey trot originally started as a marketing initiative to keep the Eastbay name relevant in Marathon County,” said Carrie Sann, former vice president of Human Resources for Eastbay. “As it continued to grow, it became so much bigger than just brand awareness. It’s become about families coming together and supporting those in the community who are less fortunate.”

Ten years later, Eastbay’s Turkey Trot is still going strong. This success wouldn’t be possible without participants, so whether you plan to run, walk, or volunteer for this year’s 5K, know that you make a difference. Because what you see as just a registration fee is actually the start of a donation process that changes lives in the community.

Eastbay Turkey Trot signage outside in the snow.


1. From Eastbay to the Hunger Coalition

When Eastbay began planning for the event, the goal was to give back to the community, and United Way of Marathon County had just started their initiative to battle hunger. The perfect match between Eastbay and the Marathon County Hunger Coalition (MCHC) was born.

“When Eastbay discussed which cause we wanted to support, we thought about Thanksgiving and the people who didn’t have food, and it just made sense to give back to the newly formed Marathon Country Hunger Coalition,” said Carrie.

“The goal of the Hunger Coalition, in a nutshell, is to eliminate hunger in Marathon County,” said Dave Eisenreich, chair of the MCHC. “It’s an ambitious goal, but that’s what we’re trying to do.”

When participants register for Eastbay’s Turkey Trot, 100% of the registration fee is donated to the MCHC. To date, Eastbay has donated over $318,000.

“While the Turkey Trot only takes place over the course of two hours, it actually impacts the community throughout the year as we use those funds to purchase food for participating pantries in our community,” said Ben Lee, Director of Community Impact, Health & Financial Stability at United Way.

When the tradition began in 2010, there were 450 runners, and each year since, the attendance has increased.Last year, there were 1,830 participants who raised a total of $58,000.

But as the attendance has continuously grown through the years, so have the number of requests the MCHC receives for food assistance.

“Ten years ago, we served 75,000 people. Today, it’s 170,000 people,” Dave said.

Eastbay’s Turkey Trot is one of the biggest fundraising events for the MCHC allowing them to keep up with the increasing number of people in need. Which is why, according to Amanda Sahr, Employment Brand Strategist for Eastbay, they hope to set a record this year with a grand total of 2,000 participants.

If the Turkey Trot went away, unless we found something else to replace it, we couldn’t do what we do.

Dave Eisenreich, chair of the Marathon County Hunger Coalition
Group of Eastbay employees and Dave Eisenreich from the Hunger Coalition take photo with large donation check.
Dave Eisenreich (center) accepts check for the Marathon County Hunger Coalition.


2. From the Hunger Coalition to the Pantries

The MCHC is not a centralized food pantry, but it works with local food pantries to provide opportunities for collaboration and teamwork.

“We don’t want to take over or replace the food pantries,” Dave said. “That’s not realistic or practical for our county. They continue to focus on getting donations on their own, but we supplement what they’re doing and make it easier for them to succeed.”

One of the pantries that’s been a part of the MCHC since the beginning is The Neighbors’ Place (TNP) run by Executive Director Tom Rau.

“Cooperating with the Marathon County Hunger Coalition, and other local pantries, we make food stretch in ways we never thought possible,” Tom said. “I don’t think you’ll find an organization within the Hunger Coalition that would say it isn’t better than before it joined.”

The money that the MCHC receives from Eastbay’s Turkey Trot helps food pantries in two specific ways.

The first is purchasing monthly groceries for the food pantries within the coalition.

“We buy roughly $6,000 worth of food per month,” Dave said. “We have a list of staples that we buy through a local grocery store, and every month the Hunger Coalition truck will pick up the food and bring it to The Neighbors’ Place. Then it’s divided up by food pantry.”

The other way the donations help is with rural food delivery.

“The rural food delivery started years ago when we thought, ‘We’re the Marathon County Hunger Coalition, not the Wausau Hunger Coalition,’” said Dave. “So once or twice a year I’ll go as far as Edgar, Colby, and Spencer with a truckload of groceries and deliver to the smaller pantries.”

The Marathon County Hunger Coalition truck parked.


3. From the Pantries to the People

After the MCHC drops off their monthly truckload of groceries at TNP, volunteers divvy it up among the 11 food pantries. From there, each pantry operates a little differently depending on what works best for them, yet the result is always the same: people leave with more food than they arrived with. But food distribution is just the tip of the iceberg. When people visit food pantries, it allows them to save their grocery money for other expenses.

“It’s not always about people starving,” Tom said. “The money saved can go to heating a house in winter or fixing a car that unexpectedly broke down. Or, as we come up to Christmas, maybe by going to a food pantry, families can afford one or two more gifts under the tree.”

“Food pantries do so much more than just feed the starving.”

Tom Rau, Executive Director of The Neighbors’ Place

A child of the ’60s, Tom thought by this time in his life the fight against hunger would no longer exist. But he remains optimistic, saying that, as long as everybody keeps asking the right questions, they’re headed in the right direction.

“It’s ‘What will happen to me if I stop?’ versus ‘What will happen to them if I don’t stop?’” Tom said, referencing Martin Luther King Jr.’s Mountaintop speech. “The Hunger Coalition and the people who formed The Neighbors’ Place asked that second question: ‘What’s going to happen in our community if we don’t help?’ And every year, Eastbay asks itself, ‘What’s going to happen to the Hunger Coalition if we don’t do the Turkey Trot?’ That question makes all the difference.”

Current executive director of The Neighbors’ Place, Tom Rau (right) running in the Turkey Trot

Thanksgiving is the holiday most commonly associated with two things: food and gratitude. So how fitting that Eastbay along with the people of Marathon County spend a couple hours of their holiday giving back to their community and ensuring no one goes hungry.


We look forward to seeing you on Nov. 28 to celebrate a successful 10 years of trotting. Share your favorite memory from Eastbay’s Turkey Trot in the comments below.

Coach Gift Ideas

Coach Gift Ideas

Gift giving can be difficult, especially when it comes to your coach. You want to say a big “thank you,” but what do you really know about them besides their favorite sport? So the end of the season rolls around and you just pick up a card for everyone to sign and put some cash inside. But with a little planning, you can find the perfect gift that you enjoy giving and your coach will appreciate receiving. So peruse the list below, find the description that best fits your coach, and check out our top gift idea.

 

For The Sentimental Coach

Most likely to be heard saying: “I said it to last year’s team, and I may say it to next year’s team, but that doesn’t mean I don’t mean it now: you guys are the best team ever.”

An orange and white Nike Strike Soccer Ball.

A simple, yet special, gift idea is a signed ball – not only is it personal, but it’s unique to this season. Plus, if anyone on your team ever makes it to the big leagues, it could increase in value. Sports using larger balls are easier for a whole team to sign, but a baseball could be difficult, so consider having each player buy their own ball and decorate it as they want with their signature and maybe a favorite memory or inside joke. Then you can drop the whole lot of them off at your coach’s office for a nice surprise.

 

For The Always-Prepared Coach

Most likely to be heard saying: “Don’t worry, I’ve got an extra pair of socks.”

Grey Nike duffel bag opened to show gear inside (water bottle, socks, whistles, stopwatch).

You know this coach. They’re the one who’s car trunk looks like chaos with extra gear for players who may have forgotten to thoroughly pack their duffle bag. So for this coach, we’ve got an easy and fun gift idea. Find a bag in your team colors and fill it with an assortment of goodies – a water bottle, a funky pair of socks, sports drinks, snacks, small sports items like a whistle or stopwatch, and for extra “aw” – cards from the whole team.

 

For The Fan-damn-tastic Coach

Most likely to be heard saying: “Did you see the game last night?”

An assortment of fan gear laid out (a Golden State hoodie, a Chicago jacket, a Philadelphia T-shirt, a Houston jersey, Toronto shorts and a Boston hat).

If your coach has a favorite college or professional team, you probably know it. You’ve seen them sporting a hat or jacket with the team logo, seen their car bumper sticker, or heard a rant at practice after a rough weekend loss. If this is your coach, consider gifting them a new piece of professional or collegiate fan gear.

 

For The Sneakerhead Coach

Most likely to be heard saying: “Watch the shoes!”

A lineup of different shoe types including Nike Zoom KD 12, Jordan AJ 1 Mid, Under Armour Hovr Apex, HOKA ONE ONE Arahi 3 and adidas Originals Stan Smith.

Help your coach stand out on the sidelines with a gift they’ll love – a new pair of sneakers. We’ve got everything from the latest Jordans to Brooks running shoes to classic Stan Smiths. No matter what brand or style your coach prefers, you’re sure to find them the perfect pair of shoes.

 

For The Practical Coach

Most likely to be heard saying: “I don’t need a gift. The best present you can give me is a championship.”

An eastbay holiday giftcard standing up

Sometimes the best gift is the one that lets your coach pick out exactly what they want. Sure, it may not be exciting to purchase or fun to put together, but when all else fails, there’s gift cards! Let your coach spend the money however they choose, whether that’s a piece of clothing for themselves or a piece of equipment for the team.


We want to hear the best ideas, comment a gift you gave (or received) that was a hit! And check out our other gift guides to find something for everyone on your list.

Top Fan Gear Gifts

Top Fan Gear Gifts

Basketball is back in full swing as teams everywhere are taking the court for the first time with the optimism that comes with a new season. After a busy offseason full of stars joining up and switching teams, fans are ready to see how their favorite team will come together. Show off the pride you have in your team or favorite player with authentic fan gear from Eastbay.

Whether you’re shopping for yourself or another athlete in your life check out our Top Fan Gear Gifts below to see what you need to win the holidays.

Nike NBA Statement Swingman Jersey

The reigning MVP has one mission this season, to be standing under the confetti celebrating his first championship. Show your support for the Greek Freak by rocking Milwaukee’s colors. You can find jerseys and shorts for all your favorite teams and players at eastbay.com.

Nike NBA Hardwood Classic Swingman Jersey

There is perhaps no player capable of more jaw-dropping moves and shots than The Beard. James Harden has shown there is no such thing as a bad shot for him, and you can rep that confidence in a throwback Houston jersey.

Mitchell & Ness NBA Swingman Jersey

Scottie Pippen showed that it doesn’t matter where you’re from as long as you can ball. One of the greatest defenders ever at the point of attack, Pippen was an integral part of Chicago’s dynasty and now you can be too.

Nike NBA Hardwood Classic Hoodie

Fresh off their first championship in team history Toronto is ready to defend their title. Show your support while staying warm as they make a push for the repeat.

Nike NBA Hardwood Classic Vintage T-Shirt

Rep the City of Brotherly Love with this classic t-shirt that embodies the spirit of ’76.

Best Gifts for Fastpitch Players

Best Gifts for Fastpitch Players

Give the gift of greatness this holiday season! Browse through our Best Gifts for Fastpitch Players guide below to find all of our latest and greatest equipment and apparel.

Nike Softball Therma Hoodie

Stay warm in the dugout or on the practice field with the Nike Softball Therma Hoodie. Nike Therma fabrics helps manage your body’s natural heat to keep your performance high when temperatures are low.

Nike Zoom Hyperdiamond 3 Elite

Reach hyperspeed in the Nike Zoom Hyperdiamond 3 Elite. Built for a lightweight feel and tailored for comfort, this cleat provides responsive cushioning that helps you be quick off the plate and down the base path.

New Balance FuseV2 Turf

The New Balance FuseV2 is the perfect indoor fastpitch trainer. It’s unique lightweight upper features perforations to help with air flow, while the full-length REVlite midsole sits above a grippy outsole to help you play your best.

DeMarini 2019 D-Lab Prism Bat

Designed and perfected in DeMarini’s D-Lab, this bat is engineered to give hitters the ultimate combination of consistency and feel. With a continuous fiber barrel, divergence gapped barrel technology, and a 3Fusion handle system – this bat maximizes every swing whether you’re a free-swinger or a slapper.

Rawlings Liberty Advanced Color Sync 2.0 Glove

The Rawlings Liberty Advanced Color Sync 2.0 glove is the perfect way to upgrade your game, giving you a diamond-ready feel and a double-laced basket web that provides a deep pocket.

Nike Dri-Fit Raspberry Club Short-Sleeve Crew

Showcase your toughness with the stylish and comfortable Nike Dri-Fit Raspberry Club Short-Sleeve Crew. The Dri-Fit technology helps you stay dry and the “Raspberry Club” graphics represent the sacrifices you’re willing to make for the game. (Coming soon)

Shopping for other sports or styles? Check out our full list of gift guides here.

Best Gifts for Baseball Players

Best Gifts for Baseball Players

Load up your shopping cart with gifts that help you load the bases this spring. Browse through our Best Gifts for Baseball Players guide below to find this holiday’s home run present.

Under Armour Harper 4 Low

Under Armour Harper 4 Low

A signature cleat from the league’s signature slugger. The Under Armour Harper 4 Low utilizes a unique 3-3-4 hybrid cleat plate, featuring metal spikes up front for speed, power, and traction and molded back cleats for lightweight comfort. Eastbay also carries Harper 4 colorways that you can’t get anywhere else, so make sure to browse the full collection.

New Balance 4040v5 Metal Low

The New Balance 4040v5 Metal Low is a data-driven cleat for the game’s dynamic players. Equipped with finely tuned Kinetic Stitch, this cleat provides stability in high-stress zones without sacrificing flexibility.

Franklin CFX Pro Batting Gloves

Franklin CFX Pro Batting Gloves

Feel the power in your hands. The Franklin CFX Pro Batting Gloves are a favorite for many professional players thanks to their unmatched grip and flexible material.

Demarini CF Zen BBCOR Baseball Bat

Demarini CF Zen BBCOR Baseball Bat

Swing for the fences with the Demarini CF Zen BBCOR Baseball Bat. Developed to deliver a massive sweet spot and maximum barrel control, this bat features the most consistently high-performing barrel in the game.

New Balance Asymmetrical 2.0 Right 3/4 -Sleeve Baseball Top

Designed specifically for right-handed players, the New Balance Asymmetrical 2.0 Right 3/4-Sleeve Baseball Top features an extended underarm hem to help reduce distractions as you throw.

Easton Mako 2 Piped Baseball Pants

Easton Mako 2 Piped Baseball Pants

Slide into success with Easton’s Mako 2 Piped Baseball Pants. Featuring Scotchgard stain release to reduce stains and wick moisture, these are the perfect baseball pants to get dirty in.

Nike Force Zoom Trout 6 Turf

Nike Force Zoom Trout 6 Turf

Built for the five-tool player, the Nike Force Zoom Trout 6 Turf trainer utilizes an all-new midfoot strap to keep your foot securely in place while providing optimal comfort.

Nike Huarache Elite Batting Gloves

Nike Huarache Elite Batting Gloves

Grip it and rip it. The Nike Huarache Elite Batting Gloves were designed for minimizing distractions while maximizing feel and comfort.

Rawlings Heart of the Hide Fielder’s Glove

Rawlings Heart of the Hide Fielder's Glove

The Rawlings Heart of the Hide Fielder’s Glove is made with premium leather for a quick break-in process and fielding-specific performance. This glove also features 100% wool padding that aids in pocket formation and shape retention.

Nike Baseball Hoodie

Nike Baseball Hoodie

From the dugout to the gym, the Nike Baseball Hoodie combines breathable mesh and a standard fit for a relaxed, comfortable feel.

Shopping for other sports or styles? Check out our full list of gift guides here.