VolunteerLocal was created and is headquartered in Des Moines, so we guess you could say we’re biased when it comes to our love for the city. But it’s for good reason. With the amount of young professionals, awesome restaurants, affordable housing and more, there’s no reason not to love this metropolis.
Michael Zimmerman, founder of Rip Roar Events, agrees with us. “The cost to culture ratio in Des Moines is great. You can afford to take a risk and start a new company. People are trying to do things that might cause great change without worrying about paying thousands in rent or for groceries. Instead, people can reinvest into things that benefit the community.”
Rip Roar Events was created with that idea of culture and community building in mind. Zimmerman founded the company in January 2015, with an interest in children’s endurance events. This November, they’re hosting their first ever Turkey Trot, a 5K and 5Mile race on Thanksgiving day which encourages runners of all ages. Beyond featuring an awesome route, it will also include a community meal, to bring the people of Des Moines together.
“We’re focusing on community and culture building events,” Zimmerman explains. “We thought, ‘What are we going to do that’s actually going to benefit the community?’ So we created the Turkey Trot, which I believe provides people with an outlet to do something besides sit around the TV… We’re having a community meal, and one of the options when registering is asking if you want to buy a plate for somebody else. We already have 150 plates bought, so people are saying, ‘It’s Thanksgiving, let’s continue to make Des Moines great and give back.’ Everyone will be coming around the table to share a meal that perpetuates that [greatness].”
VolunteerLocal has been a useful tool for gathering new volunteers–and it doesn’t hurt that it’s a local business. “It’s great that we’re using something that was developed locally by young people, people that we know in our community. We try to do as much within a local platform as possible to say, Des Moines kicks butt and we’ll prove it in every facet,” says Zimmerman. “For a first year event that’s up and coming, and trying to establish consistency, it’s fantastic to be able to give people this very professional platform… [VolunteerLocal] is a total luxury for a small up and coming race.”
So while we understand the temptation to stay on the couch in your most forgiving sweatpants, we recommend taking part in this year’s Turkey Trot. It’s an event that promises to benefit the community, and you. We’re positive it will make those turkey legs and mashed potatoes all the more satisfying.