Thousands of people gathered at Bidwell Park Thanksgiving morning to run for a cause. The Jesus Center held their 16th Annual Run for Food and, unlike their event in 2020, this year was held in person.

"It feels so great to be in the park today. I just felt like I was welcoming home my family," said Executive Director of the Jesus Center, Laura Cootsona.

The Jesus Center is a non-profit in Chico, helping the homeless reintegrate back into the community.

The Run for Food 5k has been held at Bidwell Park for 15 years. But last year, because of the pandemic, the Jesus Center held a virtual run.

Cootsona said this year's turnout was comparable to 2019.

"It's kind of our new tradition," said Run for Food participant, Sarah Didca. alongside her friends. "We did it last year, when it was like coronavirus, but we wanted to come out with all the people; support the community."

"I'm back home visiting my family and my mom said it would be great to do this," said another participant, Joy Mccreary. "We brought our turkey out last year so it was fun to get to bring our turkey again with actual people around."

Cootsona says profits from the run go straight towards the Jesus Center's operational budget, allowing them to help those living on the streets get healthy and find housing.

"We benefit financially, but I really feel like this is the community's event," said Cootsona.