HORSEHEADS - There are still about 300 spots available to take part in the 6th annual Selfless Elf 5k Run/Walk, viewed by many as a great way to get into the holiday spirit and help neighbors in need.

The event is scheduled to start at 3 p.m., Dec. 7, at Thorne Street Park. Registration fees are $40 for people ages 13-year-old and older and $25 for those 12-years-old and under. Register at

Maria Strinni, a Food Bank of the Southern Tier spokesman, said a $40 registration provides 120 meals for people right here in the Southern Tier.

“The Elf 5k Run/Walk has really grown over the years,” Strinni said. “We are seeking 300 more elves to help us reach our goal of 1,500 runners and walkers who donate enough to help provide more than 275,000 meals that go to people in need locally.”

Strinni said the Selfless Elf is fun for the whole family, featuring a closed course route that begins and ends in Thorne Street Park. 

“I have taken part in the Selfless Elf event for the past four to five years, and it’s always been enjoyable,” said Anis Fadul, a Corning man. “It’s a very nice event. The main reason I take part is to raise funds for the Food Bank of the Southern Tier, but I always had fun at the event.”

One in eight adults and one in five children in the Southern Tier are food insecure, Stinni said. Hunger hurts throughout the year, but it’s especially hard during the holiday season, when so many holiday traditions gather family and friends at the table.

Selfless Elf is a fun way to get into the holiday spirit and help neighbors in need. Participants can increase their impact by encouraging friends and family to donate just $10 by creating an online fundraising page to help provide 30 meals to people in need.

Awards are given for best individual and team costumes, as well as race winners in each age group, Strinni said. People can bring non-perishable food donations to the event and receive a free gift. All elves will receive a t-shirt, striped elf socks, a wood cut finisher medal and timed race result.

Stinni said 72,000 people in the Southern Tier live below the federal poverty line and may struggle to afford nutritious meals.

The Food Bank of the Southern Tier distributes food to people struggling with hunger through a network of 165 food pantries, meal programs, shelters and other hunger relief agencies in Broome, Chemung, Schuyler, Steuben, Tioga and Tompkins Counties.

Non-runners can participate by signing up to volunteer or donate to a runner’s fundraising page at

The Food Bank also directly serves people in need through the BackPack Program, Kids’ Farmers Markets and Mobile Food Pantry Program, Strinni said. Through advocacy, education and community partnerships, the Food Bank’s vision is to create a future without hunger for everyone in the Southern Tier.

The Food Bank of the Southern Tier is a member of Feeding America and a regional agency of Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Rochester, and was named the 2017 Food Bank of the Year.