TOWSON, Md. (WJZ)—Before sitting down for Thanksgiving dinner, many area families are giving back.

Christie Ileto explains the Towson Turkey Trot has runners sprinting for a cause.

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Organizers say it’s one of their biggest fundraiser, and Maryland families are pitching in Thursday.

Temperatures may be freezing, but the 19th annual Towson Turkey Trot is luring almost 3000 participants Thursday.

For 3.1 miles, runners and walkers are giving back to around 50,000 underprivileged area children with every step.

“It’s a great cause, great race, happy to support them,” said Nick Gault, runner.

“Last year, we raised over $100,000.,” said event organizer Lori Rogers.

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Rogers says the goal is to help struggling area families who can’t provide to give their children additional educational opportunities, such as the YMCA’s Journey Preschool and Camp program.

“So for families who may not be able to afford child care, we have programs for them,” Rogers said. “You can imagine a family of four trying to feed and clothe and school supplies, so this is what we’re doing today.”

Runners say it’s a great way to kick off a day of giving thanks.

“I wanted to support YMCA and I wanted to do something positive for the community at the same time, and this is a great opportunity to combine all that together,” said Mona Lisa Williamson, runner.

Organizers say they hope to raise around $300,000 this year.

The Towson Y just opened the doors to the new building earlier this month.

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