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Pay It Forward: The Blackfoot Tater Trot

The Blackfoot Tater Trot
Todd Kunz
The Blackfoot Tater Trot is local fundraiser that actually "runs" to help a community dinner table and provide scholarships every year.

BLACKFOOT, Idaho (KXPI) - A local fundraiser actually "runs" to help a community dinner table and provide scholarships every year. Yes. It is a run. Eyewitness News 3 anchor Todd Kunz decided to try out The Blackfoot Tater Trot, and Pay It Forward.

"We get a lot of local support from the community," said Randy Shiosaki, co-director of the race and the Blackfoot Community Dinner Table.

Those supporters line up for The Blackfoot Tater Trot every year. It raises funds to support people in the community from start to finish. The Blackfoot Community Dinner Table is the main recipient of the funds raised. It is comprise of 22 different faith and "friend" organizations throughout Bingham County. The Blackfoot Rotary Club is one of them. It assists with the Tater Trot, with some of the money going toward scholarships for high school students in Bingham County.

"We've been able to do about five (scholarships) each year, so hopefully we will be able to do a few more now," said Colleen Hancock with the Blackfoot Rotary Club.

The Blackfoot Tater Trot is in its 12th year.

"We are very pleased with the amount of money and the donations and the runners that we've gotten for this year," said Hancock.

Kunz wanted to join the racers this year. He set out on the 10K run in beautiful fall weather in beautiful scenery. He said it was a great Saturday morning. Hancock said 103 runners came out to support the 2022 race.

Christian Utley is with the Blackfoot Community Dinner Table and is the other co-director of the race. He agrees with the support.

"It's been awesome. A lot of the business people in the community have taken a liking to the Community Dinner Table through donations. A lot of the church groups and faith-based groups in the area have been a sponsor, (with) either a food donation or money donations over the years," said Utley. He added that the Christmas Box Program with the Community Dinner Table is a healthy box of food for the holidays for those in need. He said they have served about 5,000 families one of the boxes over the years.

"It's just awesome. The Community Dinner Table now is on its 15th year. We have served over 80,000 meals in the 15 years. This is the 15th year, but it's just awesome, the support of the community you know. It's not just people that need a meal, maybe it's someone that's lost a spouse and would like to come and sit down around people and have some company. It really helps this community out," added Shiosaki.

"Well it sounds like you guys are doing a lot for the community with The Tater Trot and you're helping a lot of families. You're supporting scholarships. Sorry to interrupt," said a women walking up to the conversation at the race starting line.

"Oh that's fine," said Shiosaki.

"Surprise. My name is Angie Phillips. I'm with Mountain America Credit Union," said the woman.

"Oh," said Hancock.

"And we're actually here today to Pay It Forward," said Phillips.

"Gosh," said Utley.

"To help The Tater Trot," said Phillips.

"Oh my," said Hancock.

"Oh," said Utley.

"So in this envelope, we've got $500," said Phillips.

"Oh wow," said Hancock.

"To support you guys," said Phillips.

"We'll give that to Christian," said Hancock, taking the envelope from Phillips.

"We got punked! Thank you," said Utley.

"You're so welcome," said Phillips.

"That's awesome," said Utley.

"Thank you so much," said Shiosaki, reaching out to shake hands with Phillips.

"You're welcome," said Phillips.

"Here," said Hancock, giving the envelope of cash to Utley.

"Alright. Thank you," said Utley.

"Thank you so much," said Hancock, shaking hands with Phillips.

"Thank you guys. You guys are putting in a ton of work and it's just amazing to bring the community together. You guys really deserve this recognition," said Phillips.

Shiosaki also said a local farmer, Richard Johnson, donates 5,000 ears of corn every year. He said they cut it off the cob and blanche it at the Methodist Church. It is then bagged and taken to the food pantry for the nights that they serve the dinner table meals. The Community Dinner Table is starting the Tuesday night dinner again October 25 at the Methodist Church. The dinners will run through the winter season.

All of this is spawned and supported by The Blackfoot Tater Trot.

"Pay It Forward" airs the second Wednesday of every month. If you know of a nonprofit organization or someone who deserves to be recognized for their contributions to the area, click on "News" then "Pay It Forward" under the menu stack at the top left of our homepage. Fill out the submission form, or send an email to Eyewitness News 3 anchor Todd Kunz at todd.kunz@news3now.com

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Todd Kunz

Todd is an anchor for KIDK Eyewitness News 3, Local News 8 and Fox 5.

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