By Elena Walker
For Brookhaven College, October signals the preparation for the annual Spooky Trot 5k Run/Walk. The Office of Student Life will host the haunted run at 8 a.m. Oct. 27 on the Brookhaven jogging trail.
Some participants may choose to get festive and run in costumes. “I would encourage it, definitely. Let’s get in the spirit of this,” Rebekah Benavides, OSL programs development coordinator, said. The top three runners with the best time will receive prizes at the finish line.
The Spooky Trot began when a student needed assistance getting food from the campus food pantry, now known as The Cave, Cpl. Vikki Ethington, a Brookhaven police officer, said in an email to The Courier. After unlocking the food pantry, Ethington said, she realized there was not enough food for the student to make a meal and decided that had to change.
Instead of charging a fee to participate in the fun run, the admission requirement is a canned food donation. These donations are used to stock the food pantry and allow people to be fed over the holidays, Ethington said.
Ethington said she had been in charge of keeping the annual Spooky Trot running, but this year, Benavides is in charge. “Taking over from officer Ethington is some big shoes to fill,” Benavides said. “But Student Life is up for the challenge, and it’s all about giving back to our Brookhaven community.”
Ethington said last year, the Spooky Trot collected over 600 pounds of food for the pantry. Benavides said OSL’s goal is to continue the event’s success. “We want to top that – 700, 800, even 1,000 pounds,” she said.
The food pantry also depends on volunteers to keep it running. Pamela Hildebrand, a student, said she recently started volunteering at the food pantry. “It’s been a good, eye-opening experience, for sure,” she said.
“We don’t ask questions. We don’t take names. We just get people fed,” Jennifer Allen, history professor and food pantry coordinator, said. Students, staff and faculty can benefit from the food pantry, and Hildebrand said she has seen this firsthand. “I think it does help [everyone] because it gives them a sense of support and comfort,” Hildebrand said.
The food pantry is located in Room K241 and is open Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30. p.m.