The New Year is starting off right for four Dexter nonprofit groups that received a surprise donation from Running Fit in Ann Arbor on Wednesday.
"The Holiday Hustle represents the best of what we do at Running Fit," president Randy Step said. "That is, to offer the community a chance to be together as one for a healthy evening walk and run, taking in the fresh air and holiday lights. The generosity of the local fitness community made our donation of $7,000 possible."
Now in its fifth year, the Holiday Hustle draws roughly 1,500 runners to the community, Step said.
"There's a lot of competing holiday runs in December, so we're thankful that we're able to attract as many people as we do," he said.
Leigh Hook, vice president of the Athletic Booster Club of Dexter, said the donation will be added to the club's fund and distributed among the club's member sports teams at the end of the year.
"With all the funding cuts happening to sports programs, it's important to receive donations from the community to help support our student athletes," she said.
Hook said the Dexter High School Athletic Department received more requests for financial aid during the 2012 fall sports season than all of the previous academic year combined.
Dexter Lions Club President Jim Warden said the club will use its donation to help purchase eye glasses and fund programs at Ele's Place in Ann Arbor, the Penrickton Center for Blind Children in Taylor, and Leader Dogs for the Blind in Rochester Hills.
"Most of our money stays right here in Dexter," he said.
Warden said the club's largest fundraiser is the annual Christmas tree sale at Creekside Intermediate School. Proceeds from the sale helps fund scholarships for local students. This year the club donated $17,000 in gift cards to residents affected by the .
Step said he appreciates being able to donate to civic groups every year.
"It's a testament to the caliber of the running community. They come out to support us at the Holiday Hustle," he said.