Race raises donations for families in need


Norwalk Social Services Director Sandra Benavidez awards Bellegran Gomez a gift certificate and an athletic cup. She finished the Turkey Trot first as a female Cerritos College staff member. Photo credit: Bianca Martinez

Bianca Martinez

The Turkey Trot, which experienced it’s 20th year on Cerritos campus raked in a total of $109.50 in donations and 1,403 cans of food to be sent to those in need in the Norwalk community.

Two-hundred and sixty-three Cerritos College staff, faculty and students participated in the annual event — registering beforehand or before the start of the Trot and donating either a non-perishable food item or a dollar.

Coordinator of the event and Health Education Department Chair Ni Bueno states how students and faculty found out and participated in the event, “They have to fill out a form and bring it to a location within the campus community designated location or they register the day of and we usually advertise it on what we call our Daily Falcon for all the employees and we send information out to all of the instructors as well in hoping that they will award extra credit for it.”

All food and proceeds donated were picked up and are to be delivered to the Norwalk Social Services food pantry by Norwalk city employees.

Norwalk Social Services Department Manager Sandra Benavidez, announced the winners and awarded them with gift certificates and a sports bottle filled with candy.

Benavidez said, “I think it’s wonderful to see faculty, staff, students [and] community residents come together and show that they care and support those that are going through financial hardship and need a helping hand, so I think that the Turkey Trot helps the Norwalk community and those that are in need.

“Every year is just a blessing to be able to get whatever comes in as far as canned donations or monetary donations because it’s giving back what matters. I just want to say thank you to the Cerritos College staff and the coordinating council for Norwalk and they come together every year and I’m just really grateful for that,” she finished.

The winners were determined by who crossed the finish line first in regards to their gender and their relationship to the college.

  • The first female staff member to cross the finish line was Bellegran Gomez
  • The first student to cross the finish line was Daisy Brito
  • The first male student to cross the finish line was Gabriel Lozano
  • The first male faculty to cross the finish line was Jerry Ramos

Athletic Training major and first place student winner Gabriel Lozano stated why he participated in the event, “Getting to help people for Thanksgiving that don’t have a meal to eat, that’s like the main thing. I am a very helpful person so anytime that a offer comes up to help somebody, I’m there for it. That’s just how I was raised.”

The Turkey Trot route was a mile and a half long, which encompassed the Cerritos College campus.

The route, starting at Falcon Square wrapped all the way around the campus down to the stadium and back to Falcon Square.

Business Administration Instructor and first place faculty winner Jerry Ramos has been participating in the Turkey Trot off and on since 2008 states the helpful impact of Turkey Trot.

“This event is beneficial for the city of Norwalk to help those who are less fortunate when it comes to having a meal. It is also beneficial to students, faculty, staff, employees etc. to give unselfishly and also the benefit from walking or running as part of good health,” Ramos said.

He also sent out emails and distributed signs in effort to raise awareness about the event and encourage participation.

The food drive proved to be a collaborative effort as the child development center donated over 600 cans according to Bueno.

Bueno said, “We really appreciate their donations too- it brings the whole campus community together. It’s something that we all participate in and it’s for the good for our surrounding community.”

The Turkey Trot was sponsored by Human Resource and the Dance, Health, Athletics and Physical Education divisions.