5K raises $9,300 to fight hunger in Oneonta

SUNY Oneonta’s second annual Mindful Mile & Fight Hunger 5K event on Sunday, 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 solidifying 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.”

Thank you from Laura Emmett

From Laura Emmett:

“Words cannot express the gratitude I have for the continued love and support I receive from my campus family. From the cards, flowers, visits and phone calls to the monetary donations and leave time donations, I could not get through this without all of you. This has been a true test of my resilience, but I think I’m on the winning side. I still don’t know when I’ll be back to work, but I am looking forward to seeing all your smiling faces when I do get back.”

Thank you from Todd Foreman

I would like to thank the many members of the campus community that shared their well wishes with me prior to my departure. Your kind words and generosity underscored the amazing 25 year experience I had at SUNY Oneonta. I won’t be too far away, and I’ll enjoy watching SUNY Oneonta prosper.

Todd Foreman

Thank you from Laura Emmett

Words can not express my and my family’s appreciation for the outpouring of support from my campus family. Thank you to everyone who came to the breakfast, donated to the fund, sent flowers, gifts, cards, sent a meal and came to visit. It’s been a tough and long journey, but your support is certainly helping me get through it. A great big thank you to Diane Williams and OAS, Jimmy Hamm and Sodexo, Monica Gray and everyone who helped put the breakfast together and serve at the breakfast.

—Laura Emmett

Pass Through the Pillars thank you

Thanks to all who came out to support and celebrate our newest students recently during the first Spring Pass Through the Pillars! We appreciate faculty, staff and current students coming out to clap, cheer and celebrate despite chilly temperatures. The new students appreciated the warm welcome to our campus community! Check out some photos from the event here: https://www.facebook.com/pg/oneontaalumni/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1560748734017223


Karyn Wendrow & The Office of Alumni Engagement

Thank you from Susan Bernardin

My deep thanks to SUNY-Shine for making a contribution to YOU, Inc. (Youth Opportunities Upheld), in memory of my father, George Bernardin. His decades of advocacy and leadership of YOU, a nonprofit dedicated to youth and families in Worcester, Massachusetts, influenced my pursuit of education and social justice. Thanks as well to SUNY Oneonta colleagues and friends who have supported me during this difficult time.