The second annual Mindful Mile & Fight Hunger 5K event at SUNY Oneonta on Sept. 23 raised more than $9,300 for the Riverside Elementary School’s Action Hero Backpack Program, a weekend meal-assistance initiative for local children.
The Backpack Program provides food for 107 children on the weekends. Nearly 50 percent of Riverside families receive backpacks, and the program is completely funded by donations from Oneonta community members, with food from local grocery stores.
Riverside Principal Melinda Murdock said the funds raised by the event will help ensure that the program can continue and grow.
“With a school poverty rate hovering around 65 percent, our mission is to support children and their families holistically,” she said. “Providing backpacks filled with three complete family meals every Friday is an important part of this support. A full belly helps foster a healthy mind, and a healthy mind allows people to be at their best.”
More than 200 runners and walkers turned out for the race, which looped around the SUNY Oneonta campus, starting and ending at the Alumni Field House. SUNY Oneonta student Lane Steele finished first with a time of 21:16. Fellow Oneonta student Abigail Williams was right on his tail, crossing the finish line just 4 seconds later.
Participants included groups of SUNY Oneonta student athletes, faculty, staff, alumni, Riverside teachers and other community members. About 40 Riverside children ran or walked in the event, which ended with a full barbecue spread put on by Sodexo.
Sodexo’s partnership with Riverside began last year when Food Network Chef Aaron McCargo, Jr. visited SUNY Oneonta classes, prepared his signature dishes in the dining halls, and planned a special dinner, where guests were asked to bring donations of food for the Backpack program. McCargo works with Share Our Strength, an organization that helps nearly 12.6 million American children in their fight against hunger.
“We’re passionate about supporting the Riverside Backpack Program,” said Sodexo General Manager Jimmy Hamm. “It was an eye-opener for me – and I think to all of us – to realize the number of kids in our own community who are going without food.”
The inaugural Mindful Mile & Fight Hunger 5K last year raised more than $2,600 for the Lord’s Table feeding program and Hurricane Harvey relief. At the end of this year’s race, proceeds totaled $9,326, with additional donations still trickling in.
“I am humbled by what I see today,” Murdock told the runners gathered at the award ceremony after the race. “What you have done for us today is not only solidify this program for this year, but you’ve also helped us into next year. The funds that you have raised today will allow us to give every family a backpack, every week.”
30 Days of Giving 2018
- Day 1: Buffalo State’s Students Serve as Civic Leaders
- Day 2: Farmingdale State College Students Give Veterans a Smile
- Day 3: Tompkins Cortland Community College Brings the Farm to the Table
- Day 4: SUNY Maritime Donates Backpacks to Homes For the Brave
- Day 5: Paws and Effect at Binghamton University
- Day 6: New Paltz Students Go From Interns To Emerging Leaders
- Day 7: Niagara County Community College Students Feed Animals in Need
- Day 8: Mohawk Valley Community College Baseball Team Helps Area Veterans
- Day 9: SUNY Delhi Students Build Homes for the Homeless
- Day 10: SUNY Old Westbury Commemorates Veterans
- Day 11: UAlbany Students Work to Improve Lives of Those With Disabilities
- Day 12: Alfred State Students Preserve History in California
- Day 13: Herkimer County Community College Cares For the Community
- Day 14: SUNY Broome Students Stepping Up to End Campus Hunger
- Day 15: Monroe Community College Develops Humanitarian Mapping
- Day 16: SUNY Oswego Hockey Teams Support Local Charities
- Day 17: Stony Brook University Students Practice Prevention and Outreach
- Day 18: SUNY ESF Students Give Up Their Saturdays for Service
- Day 19: Clinton Community College Helps Students Overcome Barriers to Success
- Day 20: SUNY Plattsburgh Grants Holiday Wishes to Area Children and Families
- Day 21: SUNY Cobleskill Gives Back to the Iroquois Indian Museum
- Day 22: SUNY Sullivan Helps Local Federation for the Homeless
- Day 23: Operation Shoebox at Schenectady County Community College
- Day 24: University at Buffalo Grassroots Gardens
- Day 25: SUNY Oneonta Runs to Fight Hunger
- Day 26: SUNY Orange Helps the Needy Stay Warm in Winter
- Day 27: HVCC Students Pack Good Night Bags for Families in Crisis
- Day 28: SUNY Fredonia Adopts Families in Need
- Day 29: Onondaga Community College Students Give Back With Service Abroad
- Day 30: Jefferson Community College Faculty & Staff Take Pie in the Face for Charity