St. Mary’s 5k Supports Crisis Center

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Runners compete in the 8th annual Moraga 5k Run for Hunger at Saint Mary’s.

Nick Johnson, staff writer

Over 100 Saint Mary’s College students and community members gathered at the De La Salle Statue in front of the Saint Mary’s chapel for the 8th annual Moraga 5k Run for Hunger on Sunday, April 19. The run kicked off the college’s “De La Salle Week.”

The event supports the Monument Crisis Center, a non-profit community organization based in Concord that supports low income families with food and shelter.

The De La Salle Week is a series of events for both Saint Mary’s staff and students to celebrate Saint John Baptist De La Salle, the patron saint of teachers. The week features community service, fund raising and education opportunities.

Each participant in the run was asked to bring either $5 or 5 canned goods to benefit the Monument Crisis Center. The partnership between the Crisis Center and SMC began in 2003, when students from the college brought over goods for the food pantry at Thanksgiving.

Sandra Schere, the Executive Director of the Monument Crisis Center, said that the longstanding collaboration between the 2 parties has been very successful. “It’s been fantastic,” she said. “We’ve done all kinds of programs and projects with the support of Saint Mary’s College where not only the students have been able to give direct service, but have also been able to do other kinds of projects to move the center forward.”

SMC accounting students have helped impoverished families through the Crisis Center by offering support with tax paperwork. Schere also said that many SMC undergrads come to help the Crisis Center as interns, and have come back once they graduated to work as full-time staff.

This was Saint Mary’s senior and Health and Poverty Justice Leader Marissa Soto’s first year organizing the run. She acknowledged that hunger and poverty is an important topic, especially in an area like Lamorinda. “Here at Saint Mary’s, we talk a lot about our Moraga bubble and this beautiful, wealthy area, but then 20 minutes away, we have Oakland and Concord, and how there are a lot of people that are in need of food and shelter. I think it’s really important that this is out there and spoken about, so that people know that this is actually happening right down the street from them,” she said.

Schere said that in some cases, younger people think differently and can bring different ideas and skills to life. “I think what the students have is a curiosity and an enthusiasm that is just starting to deepen in your college years, and a wealth of knowledge that is kind of untapped. Often times, they have a different way of looking at the world that we haven’t has the opportunity to explore and so having those fresh eyes is really important,” she said.

According to Schere, many people donated more than the $5 or 5 cans, making the event a success.

Soto said that the event raised her awareness for the problem of poverty and hunger. “I grew up in San Jose, and I was surrounded by people who were homeless or in poverty and coming onto this campus and being able to talk about it made it very personal for me,” she said.