More than 350 elves of all ages and sizes joined together at Collège Boréal this afternoon, to participate in the 2018 Santa Shuffle Sudbury for the Salvation Army.
The Santa Shuffle celebrated its 28th anniversary this year, with Sudbury and 37 other cities across Canada participating to support the less fortunate of their communities.
Greater Sudbury has participated in this national fundraiser for more than 10 years, with funds allocated to each of The Salvation Army's ministry units, including the Cedar Place women's shelter and community church.
This year's event included a 1K elf walk/run and a 5K santa shuffle fun run/walk, with proceeds supporting services and programming at the New Life Centre, Men's Shelter on Larch St.
For Santa Shuffle Sudbury Race Director, Loretta Maillet, this annual event means "the world, (knowing) that people off of our street have a place to stay."
"It's very hard to see what these men and women go through, that we see with mental health, addictions, no family, loneliness," said Maillet.
"If we can just be a beacon of light to them, that's what we want to do."
Among race participants was Noah Matheson, who reminded all in attendance, the power of community and perseverance.
Noah Matheson is both deaf and blind, but that did not stop him from pursuing his goal of running a race.
Matheson's intervenor with the Canadian Deaf Blind, Kayla Reed, said that Matheson practiced for a year to be able to complete the 5K race without the use of his wheelchair.
"We like to write SMART goals based on their likes and dislike," said Reed.
"So Noah's really taken a liking to going off on walks and he started running and skipping at Bell Park, so we thought well maybe it would be a good goal for him to do a fun run of some sort."
This summer, Matheson's support team selected the 2018 Santa Shuffle Sudbury based on the goals and timelines of his projected training.
In addition to frequent walks at Moonlight Beach and Bell Park, Matheson walked the YMCA track once a week, until finally he was able to compete alongside Sudbury's best.
All proceeds of the event remain local said Maillet, including the thousands of dollars raised in pledges by teams and hundreds of dollars raised by individuals. For more information on the Santa Shuffle or to show your support, visit santashuffle.ca.