The community raised $90,000 that will benefit both the Paso Robles and Atascadero shelter locations

ATASCADERO — The El Camino Homeless Organization’s (ECHO) North County Turkey Trot was back for its fifth year, and what a year it was. Not only did the Turkey Trot raise more money than ever before, but more community members than the organization has ever seen showed up on Thanksgiving morning (Thursday, Nov. 23) at 9 a.m. to the 5k fun run/walk at Atascadero Lake Park.

“It was an incredible day. Our mascot, Mr. Turkey, was there, leading us in some stretches and some amazing dance moves. He really winged it,” said ECHO’s Director of Operations and Development Austin Solheim. “We had so many amazing donors and sponsors, and the community showed up in force. It was just amazing to put on such a wonderful event for our community. We had over 800 individuals from the community show up.”

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Runners and walkers participate in the 5th Annual ECHO Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving morning. Photo by Rick Evans.

Not only did community members from all over the North County come out in support of ECHO by participating in the 5K, they also competed in the yearly costume contest. Families, co-workers, furry friends, and more dressed up in their best Thanksgiving and turkey-themed outfits for all to see. Solheim said that they always look forward to seeing what the groups come up with.


“We’ve had this group that’s been showing up every year for Turkey Trot, and they showed up as the Thanksgiving meal,” added Solheim. “Every person played a different role. One person was the turkey, one person was the gravy, and one person was the pie. We even had a fork, a spoon, and a knife there, too. And it was four generations of this family, and it was about 15 family members that all dressed up as the dish and all the sides for our Turkey Trot.”

On top of the Turkey Trot having a record-breaking turnout, ECHO also raised more money for both the Paso Robles and Atascadero ECHO locations than ever before.

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The ECHO Turkey Trot has become a tradition for many local families. Photo by Rick Evans.

“We actually raised over $90,000,” Solheim said. “It wouldn’t have been possible without one of our amazing sponsors, the BLoved Foundation, and they actually matched all of our community-based donations. So on top of everything, we had that support, which was pretty incredible.”

The Turkey Trot, which has become a huge part of how many are celebrating Thanksgiving, will be back next Thanksgiving, for it’s sixth annual year.

“It was just amazing to see that many community members come out. Not just community members but businesses, different groups, and families that just really wanted to come out and spend the day with us,” Solheim said. “It’s become such a tradition for so many people, and we just heard so much positive feedback. we just can’t wait until next year to put this event on again. It’s just really fantastic to have these amazing community members come out and participate with us.” 

To learn more about ECHO and all the ways they support the local community, go to

Feature Image: : A local family shows up dressed like an entire Thanksgiving meal for the 5th Annual ECHO Turkey Trot. Photo by Rick Evans.