Posted on October 12,
Hunger walk aids Richmond residents
By Natalie Estrada,
RICHMOND - Students, adults, children and family pets joined
in the 24th annual Harmony Walk to end hunger Saturday in attempt
to raise awareness of the problems that are happening in the
For the fourth year, Chevron of Richmond sponsored the event
that was held in the Civic Center Plaza. Since the event began
at 8 a.m., free breakfast was provided, offering walkers pancakes,
their choice of bacon or sausage and a side of cantaloupe.
Director of the Greater Richmond Interfaith Program (GRIP)
Kia Croom organized the event. She brought together all the
exhibitors that came representing their organizations, schools
and the people.
"(I attended the walk) to support GRIP, which is a fine
organization that does a lot of good work, and to let people
know about our school (St. Jerome Catholic School)," volunteer
Marla Korte said.
GRIP helps the hungry and the homeless by providing a place
for them to get food and shelter. They have a 75-bed capacity
emergency shelter and eight other studios that are for families
that have no place to stay. They run a soup kitchen that feeds
up to 300 people a day and are available 365 days a year. It
is an organization of religious congregations that have one
common goal: end hunger and homelessness.
"I think it's good," participant Kerry Moriarty
said. "It's helping people that don't have food to eat
by keeping shelters open in Richmond."
Carrows Restaurant in El Cerrito sponsored the free breakfast,
serving up 1,000 pancakes made by General Manager Mark Yonemura.
"I started making the pancakes at 3 a.m. We (at Carrows)
definitely like helping out the community," Yonemura said.
Clubs from all around Richmond and more than 25 exhibitors
joined in the ceremony. A group of young adults from the club
Play Works helped by blowing up balloons and getting things
ready for the event. They cheered as walkers started their
way around the block, handing out free bottles of water for
the three-mile walk.
"I'm out here to promote a healthy community and, you
know, just to have fun," volunteer for Play Works Khai
Also on hand was a disc jockey from the radio station KDYA
1190 AM The Light. The music played had the guests grooving
and had others singing along. DJ Brotha Phil called all the
walkers to attention, then announced different speakers, one
of whom was Richmond Mayor Gayle McLaughlin. She spoke before
the crowd, letting the community know that she was with them
and was ready to walk for change.
Boot camp instructor Omari Williams, also known as "Coach
O," had all the walkers get on the grass and do stretches
and jumping jacks before the walk. The music pumped up the
participants and they were ready for the walk.
The children were provided multiple activities for their enjoyment,
including a jumper that they could enter and exit as they pleased.
Two ponies were provided by Horse Paradise in El Sobrante,
though one of them was not participating because he wanted
to run instead of walking at an easy pace with a child on board.
There were also two rabbits that the children could feed and
pet. All of these activities were free and allowed the children
to have fun and experience new things.
The organization West County Reads was there, allowing kids
to pick gently used books to either read for the time being
"I think this is the second time we've been here at GRIP," West
County Reads board member Tana Monteiro said. "We get
to as many community events as possible."
The Kiwanis Club of Richmond gathered all their volunteers
to help at the event. The club helps students get out and help
Jamersina Preston is one of the adult volunteers and the person
that brought Kiwanis to Richmond High School. She now works
at Lovonya Dejean Middle school, where many of the kids that
go to school there are homeless. She attended the event not
only to volunteer, but to let others know about the percentage
of students who come from homeless families.
"I think it's a great event. I used to work at GRIP,
so this event is really special to me," community engagement
specialist for Chevron Andrea Bailey said.
The Contra Costa County's homeless population totals more
than 4,157 people. Out of these numbers 53 percent are children.
Contact Natalie Estrada at email@example.com.