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Helpline House Starts New Year with $22K Turkey Trot Donation

Updated: Apr 16, 2020

photo of Helpline and Island Fitness staff holding $22K check

From left to right: outgoing Helpline House Interim Executive Director Matt Eldridge, Island Fitness Owners Michael and Alexa Rosenthal, new Helpline House Executive Director Maria Metzler, and Island Fitness Professional Trainers and Turkey Trot Organizers Brenda Prickett and Dominique Atherley.

Maria Metzler’s new job as Executive Director of Helpline House got off to a $22,000 start over the New Year, thanks to Island Fitness, 15 local businesses, a small army of volunteers and the nearly 1,000 people who participated in last year’s Turkey Trot.

Island Fitness owners Michael and Alexa Rosenthal, longtime Helpline House supporters, recently presented the Turkey Trot proceeds to Metzler, who officially took over at Helpline House Jan. 2.

The generous donation will be used for the nonprofit’s social services programs which help roughly 1 in 10 Island residents each year.

“The Turkey Trot is an event we look forward to each year at Helpline,’’ says Metzler. “We're so grateful to our partners, Island Fitness, for organizing and staffing the event.’’

Metzler replaces Matt Eldridge who has been serving as Helpline’s Interim Executive Director since last July and led its search committee for a new director.

The Rosenthals, who recently took over as organizing sponsor of the annual Thanksgiving Day event, had some big shoes to fill after Turkey Trot organizers Ann Browning and Jennifer Campbell retired last year. But they wanted to carry on the family-friendly event, especially because it has benefited Helpline House the past eight years.

With the help of Island Fitness Professional Trainers Brenda Prickett and Dominique Atherley, the 2017 Turkey Trot was a huge success with nearly 1,000 runners and walkers, many clad in Turkey Day costumes.

The Turkey Trot has raised nearly $130,000 for Helpline since its inception in 2010, when a record Northwest snow and ice storm nearly canceled the event.

“We kind of joke that it took four of us to fill Ann and Jenny’s shoes, but we feel it’s too important an Island event (and cause) to let go of,’’ says Island Fitness owner Michael Rosenthal.

He said the event would not have been as successful without the generous support of local businesses, including: Host sponsors: Ihland Garden Dental, A Kitchen That Works, Wildernest, Treehouse Café, Islandental, Johansson Clark Real Estate; Foundation Sponsors: Blackbird Bakery, Daro Creative, BI Parks and Recreation; Mainstreet Sponsors: New Motion Physical Therapy, Poulsbo Running, Indigo Plum, Town & Country Markets; and Storefront Sponsors: Bainbridge Island Ambulance, Churchmouse Yarns & Teas and Bainbridge Cinemas.

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