Jingle Bell Run -- the original festive race for the Arthritis Foundation

Tracy Kelch, left, of Ashkum, and Karen Boehrnsen, of Martinton, race to the finish line in costume during the 2018 Jingle Bell Run. 

Volunteers are being sought to help plan and organize the annual Jingle Bell Run.

The Jingle Bell Run, a Christmas tradition, will be held for the 31st time in Kankakee County this December. Tentative plans call for a Sunday, Dec. 5, run, but the continued presence of COVID-19 and possible health restrictions could challenge planners as never before.

The 2020 event was virtual, with runners and walkers using their own route, receiving their shirts in the mail and logging in their times on the honor system. The hope this year is to get back to an in-person event.

The run is a local fundraiser for the Arthritis Foundation. Over the years, more than $700,000 has been raised for this charity through the Jingle Bell Run.

The event started in 1991 at the Meadowview Shopping Center and was held at Shapiro Developmental Center from 1992 to 2015. Since then, until last year’s virtual event, Kankakee Community College was the host.

The goal this year will be to have an event that is fun, raises funds for charity and is safe for volunteers, runners and walkers.

Past committee members are being contacted to participate, but new volunteers and new ideas are welcome. Interested persons can contact Jessica Bearak, executive director of the Arthritis Foundation in Illinois, at 773-917-5601 or jbearak@arthritis.org; or Kankakee Race Director Phil Angelo at 815-325-4277 or philangelo@comcast.net.