From July 1 to 21, area residents can show their support for people with disabilities by buying paper sneakers in conjunction with the 17th annual Laurel Run.
For the 11th straight year, The Resource Center and Filling the Gap, Inc., are partnering with United Refining Company's Kwik Fill and Red Apple Food Mart locations to sell paper sneakers. Customers who buy 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, Pa. The sneakers bear an image of event namesake Laurel Hotelling.
All of the money raised in Chautauqua County goes to Filling the Gap to support disability awareness and prevention efforts, and to enhance employment and work training opportunities for adults with disabilities.
Money raised in Erie and Warren counties will be split with organizations that support people with disabilities in each of those counties. In Erie County, proceeds from the sneaker sales will be split with Heritage Centers; in Warren County, money will be split 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.
This year's Laurel Run takes place July 19 and 20. The first day consists of the traditional Jamestown-to-Dunkirk flag relay, with students and adults from schools throughout Chautauqua County running the legs of the relay. The following day in Silver Creek, featured activities include an 8-kilometer run, a 5-kilometer fitness walk, a 1-kilometer 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. All morning there will be a party in the village square featuring free food, live music and activities for adults and children. In the afternoon there will be a motorcycle dice run.
For more information about Laurel Run, call 661-4735. Details also can be found by visiting www.laurel-run.com.