SCRANTON -- A group of students from Lackawanna County has a Thanksgiving tradition that doesn't involve food, family or football. For the fourth year in a row, they set out on foot to raise money for charity.
Stores were closed and traffic quiet on South Main Avenue in Scranton. So, it was hard to miss the laughter, conversation and sound of footsteps from a group walking down the street. It looked like they were on a leisurely walk through the neighborhood, but they actually passed through several neighborhoods to get to west Scranton.
"The exercise is nice prior to the big turkey feast, so you can go into it feeling like you did a little something for Thanksgiving," said Amy Rummerfield, a teacher at West Scranton High School.
The group is made up of students and teachers from West Scranton High School and volunteers from the American Red Cross. They walked in honor of a classmate who passed away earlier this year and to raise money for the Red Cross.
They set out in Pittston at 7:00 on thanksgiving morning.
"It's for a good cause, and usually you'd think, 'Oh, 11 miles that's crazy,' but it goes by pretty quickly when you're having fun, and it's a really good group of people. I actually enjoy it. I was really excited to come this morning," said student Lila MacDonald.
In all, they walk 11 miles from downtown Pittston to downtown Scranton.
So, what would motivate a group of teenagers to make that trek on Thanksgiving morning?
"I feel like I have been blessed over the years and this is a great way to give back," said student Andrew Simpson.
They said the cold is not so bad when you have good friends and conversation. But, the experience makes them extra thankful for shelter when the walk is done.
"For them to do this, it's just to show that they're willing to put themselves in a little bit of discomfort to pull for someone else who can't pull for themselves," added Rummerfield.
Group members hope to raise more than they did last year, $1,000 for the American Red Cross.
They reached their destination in downtown Scranton in under four hours, with plenty of time to get home for Thanksgiving dinner.