Courtesy of Catholic University Fitness and Recreation
By Jonathan Norman
Catholic University’s Fitness and Recreation Department partnered with the Knights of Columbus and Campus Ministry on Sunday to kick off Hunger and Homeless Awareness Week. The groups hosted their third annual 5k Race Against Hunger and invited Catholic University undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, staff, and all members of the Brookland community to race in a 3.1 mile run around campus.
Participants were asked to donate $10 to enter the race. Proceeds from the event would benefit the Edgewood/Brookland Family Support Collaborative, a neighborhood-based, collaborative community support system.
All participants started and finished the race just outside of Caldwell Hall. They began by running up the large hill on Harewood road, then continued to make a loop around the exterior of campus. This took them down Taylor Street, then along John McCormack Road NE, and in front of the new nursing school across Michigan Avenue NE. Each competitor then ran up Harewood Road again, but before they reached the turn towards Taylor Street, everyone entered the O’Boyle parking lot and raced through Centennial Village before they ended back up at Caldwell Hall for the finish line.
The course was a challenging, but fun experience for all the racers. Maevis Fahey, a sophomore Politics major and the Vice President of the Student Government Association, competed in the race, earning the first-place prize for female participants.
“The Hunger & Homelessness 5k was a slice of heaven. I loved seeing community members come out on a chilly Sunday for a great cause. The best part was running towards the finish line and hearing the other runners cheer us on,“ Fahey said. “Our campus can often feel like a sheltered bubble in DC but offering up the campus 5K for hunger and homelessness hit home. It certainly served as a reminder of our duty to serve others in our community, most especially here in DC.”
Along the course, volunteers from Fitness and Recreation and Knights of Columbus were stationed with signs to direct the runners where to go. Additionally, at about the half-way mark of the race, runners encountered some volunteers with a water station to help them refresh. Meredith Hamm, a senior media and communications major, stood at the corner of Michigan Avenue and John McCormack Road during the race. She was positioned just before the second mile marker for the participants, and helped direct runners for the turn onto Michigan Avenue.
“Despite the cold, I was happy to volunteer at the 5k run against hunger,” Hamm said. “Seeing everyone come together for this great charity and important cause on this cold morning warmed my heart.”
The Fitness and Recreation Department was also delighted with the event’s success. It brought members across the Brookland community together for a cause that will help better the community around them. Jess Murtagh, the Assistant Director of Fitness & Recreation at Catholic, said she was pleased with the event.
“To kick off Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Week, Fitness & Rec and Campus Ministry hosted the 3rd annual 5K Race Against Hunger and it has been a continued success year after year. This year we were able to have over 20 race participants including not only Catholic University students, but also Brookland community members,” Murtagh said. “The 5K raised a total of $230.00 for the Brookland/Edgewood Family Collaborative. This organization is a neighborhood collaborative organization that offers family support services and resources in the community.”
Including the 5k, from November 13th to the 19th, six different events were held by Campus Ministry and in partnership with other organizations on campus to help fight hunger and homelessness. These included a Care Package Palooza during which students packed meals to be distributed to families in the local area, and a special CUA tap with speaker Norma Pimentel, a sister with the Missionaries of Jesus and the Executive Director of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley.
The opportunities to help those in need did not end this week, as the Thanksgiving Food Drive began on November 12th and will continue through the 21st. Students are asked to bring non-perishable food items, to benefit the Brookland-Edgewood Family Support Collaborative, at either the Gibbons Hall, Camalier House, Millennium South, Regan Hall, or Opus Hall housing offices.
Hunger and Homeless week showed some of the best parts of the Catholic University community as students, faculty, and staff alike came together to help support a very important mission.
“We are so excited to be able to raise funds for a local organization and can’t wait for the 5K again next year,” Murtagh said.