Through July 18, area residents can show their support for people with disabilities by buying paper sneakers in conjunction with the 14th annual Laurel Run.
For the eighth straight year, United Refining Company's Kwik Fill and Red Apple Food Mart locations will sell paper sneakers. Customers who purchase a sneaker can write their name on the sneaker and have it displayed in the store. The suggested donation is $1, but donations of any amount are appreciated.
Sneakers will be sold at participating locations in Chautauqua and Erie counties in New York, and in Warren County, Pennsylvania. The sneakers bear an image of event namesake Laurel Hotelling.
Posing together to promote the kickoff of the annual Laurel Run sneaker sales are, from left, Laurel Run founder Wayne Hotelling; event namesake Laurel Hotelling; Peter Conley, vice president of United Refining Company; Elaine Woodmansee, manager of the Kwik Fill/Red Apple location on Route 60 near Jamestown; Rebecca Brown, United Refining district manager; and Frank Bartela, United Refining regional manager.
In 2009, the Kwik Fill/Red Apple locations raised $3,848.67 through the Laurel Run sneaker sales.
All the money raised in Chautauqua County goes to TRC Foundation to support disability awareness and prevention efforts, and to enhance employment and work training opportunities for adults with disabilities at The Resource Center's Work Centers.
Money raised in Erie and Warren counties is split between TRC Foundation and an organization that supports people with disabilities in each of those communities. Money raised in Erie County will be shared with The Heritage Centers, while funds raised in Warren County will be shared with Bollinger Enterprises.
Laurel Run was created by Wayne and Elaine Hotelling of Silver Creek in honor of their oldest daughter, who has Down syndrome.
Laurel Run seeks to raise public awareness about individuals with disabilities while providing an opportunity for people with disabling conditions to come together with their non-disabled peers in a fun, community-wide atmosphere.
The Laurel Run takes place July 16 and 17. The first day consists of the Jamestown-to-Dunkirk flag relay, which features students and adults from schools throughout Chautauqua County running legs of the relay.
The following day in Silver Creek, featured activities include an 8-kilometer run, a 5k fitness walk, a 1k fun walk, children's runs, and "Laurel's Lap," in which anyone with a disability is invited to take a lap around the track surrounding the village ball field. There also will be a motorcycle dice run.
For more information about Laurel Run, call 483-2344. Details also can be found by visiting www.laurel-run.org.