Fundraiser to support refuge, aid hunger

Richmond walk unites community to quell issues

By Ryan Geller, Advocate Staff

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The Contra Costa College volleyball team and the men’s basketball team will be helping with Richmond’s Harmony Walk fundraiser on Saturday to support local hunger and homelessness programs.

Funds generated from the event will go to the Greater Richmond Interfaith Program (GRIP), which manages the Souper Center at 165 22nd Ave. in Richmond that serves up to 500 hot meals daily.

The same location also offers a 75-bed shelter, a food pantry and other services for homeless community members, said Uche Uwahemu, board member of GRIP and Harmony walk chairperson. 

The run/walk event will go from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Nichol Park on Macdonald Avenue, which is the location of the start of the race as well as the finish line.

Richmond Mayor Tom Butt and Contra Costa County Supervisor John Gioia will be speaking at the event, along with Richmond’s representative in the 2018 Miss California-USA Pageant.

The Harmony Walk will have a kid’s area with jumpers, face painting and food trucks with local cuisine.

Everyone is encouraged to come in their favorite Halloween costumes, Uwahemu said.

CCC sports teams are a new partner in the 31-year-old event. Student-athletes will be on hand to help event organizers with a variety of tasks such as setup, directing participants and passing out water to runners and walkers, Uwahemu said.

Comet Athletic Director John Wade said the Harmony Walk is an opportunity for student-athletes to demonstrate that they are not just playing a sport, but they are here to support the community.

“We do all kinds of stuff like this from feeding the homeless to toy drives to parades to speaking events, to talking with children for the Richmond Police Activity League (PAL) program,” Wade said.

“It’s (volunteering) something you should do but it’s not a requirement,” Wade said.

Karl Perez, a math major and Comet men’s basketball team power forward, said, “They told us about it last week. We can’t really say no. We are all grown-ups so it’s up to us to get our school work done. With as much energy as we spend on basketball, it won’t hurt to do some good work for the community.”

The volleyball team is excited for an off the court team building experience, coach Christy Tianero said. “The team wanted to help out with the emergency shelter that was here on campus, but there are certain rules for Red Cross volunteers.”

Tianero said that the Harmony Walk will be a good chance to show the team’s service oriented spirit.

The Harmony Walk is a collaboration between GRIP and local organizations and businesses including Kaiser Permanente, Mechanics Bank, East Bay MUD and Chevron.

“Chevron has been investing in this organization for over 20 years. Our corporate sponsors bring resources and money; to run a non-profit and a big event like this you need that kind of support,” Uwahemu said.

In the past as many as 1,600 people have shown up to the event, Uwahemu said. Those who want to enter the run/walk can register at www.gripharmonywalk.com.

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