Thousands Flock to Grateful Gobbler


CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) — People laced up their running shoes to participate in the Grateful Gobbler.

It benefits the Maclellan Shelter for Families.

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Leeaundry Woolfolk and his family get ready for Thanksgiving in their new home.

They’ve lived there for a week and a half, all because of the Maclellan Shelter for Families.

“We are overly thankful,” Woolfolk said. “There is no gratification that can go above how we feel we would do a lot to just support the Maclellan Shelter.”

About a month ago, the family was on their way to Birmingham when they got stranded in Chattanooga.

A Chattanooga Police officer helped them contact shelters. They ended up being able to stay at the Maclellan Shelter.

“All I had to do was find me a job,” Woolfolk said. “They found us a place to go within the first three weeks of us staying there and the same day they found us housing was the same day I found a job and from there it just took off. It skyrocketed.”

On Thursday morning over at Coolidge Park, about 4,800 people participated in the Grateful Gobbler 5K walk, run, roll or stroll.

All proceeds benefit the Maclellan Shelter for Families.

“The shelter was built four years ago and over that we are in our fifth year and we have served over 600 families,” said Stan McCright, Grateful Gobbler Co-Director. “So this money goes to run that shelter, pay the electric bills and help the family in their transition from homelessness back to a sustainable economic unit.”

They estimate this event raised between $200,000 and $225,000.

“$200,000 of that goes to run the shelter, the other money will go this year to help pay for daycare, so when the parent goes to look for a job, we have the ability to care for the children and pay for the transportation to get that done,” McCright said.

For families going through similar situations, Woolfolk has advice.

“Stick together, don’t let nothing or no one pull you apart. As far as for people who are by themselves or feel like they are by themselves, you know, keep your head up. Keep moving forward,” Woolfolk said.

If you are interested in donating to the Maclellan Shelter, click here.


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You can watch Emily Cassulo weeknights on News 12 Now starting at 5:30. Emily also does stories on different tech products and issues for Tech Byte, which airs Mondays on News 12 Now. She joined the WDEF news team in September 2016 from News 12’s sister station in Columbus, Mississippi, where she worked as an anchor, producer and reporter. Emily is no stranger to the Volunteer State. Before moving to Mississippi, she worked at WBBJ-TV, covering crime and severe weather throughout West Tennessee. She loves living in Chattanooga, and exploring what the Scenic City has to offer. Emily is a Florida native, graduating from the University of Central Florida with a degree in broadcast journalism and minor in political science. While in college, Emily worked part-time as a reporter/web producer at News/Talk 96.5 WDBO. She broke her first news story there, which made national headlines, and covered the 2010 Central Florida congressional elections and the high-profile Casey Anthony trial. When she’s not busy reporting, Emily enjoys shopping, reading, playing the piano, and spending time with family and friends. Feel free to e-mail her at if you have any story ideas or just want to say ‘Hi.’