COOK and CARE Walk-A-Thon

This week we welcome back guest blogger Kate Walton, MA, Executive Director of the Interfaith Volunteer Care Givers of Greater New Haven, who is this year’s chair for the Cook and Care Walk-a-Thon.  Albertus Magnus College is proud to host this year’s walk-a-thon on October 20, 2013.  You can learn more or register for the walkathon at Cook and Care Walk-A-Thon.  You can reach Kate directly at kwalton@carenewhaven.org

In 1995 two charitable “boots on the ground” service providers in New Haven discovered that they were both planning to do a walk-a-thon event to raise money and awareness around the same time.

Since 1988 Community Soup Kitchen (CSK) had been New Haven’s primary day time food relief organization by serving lunch daily at Christ Church at 84 Broadway in the Yale bookstore area.  CSK was concerned about the growing number of poor seeking a meal.  Interfaith Volunteer Care Givers of Greater New Haven (IVCG), operating since 1984, was experiencing increasing requests for assistance from frail elderly and needed to explore new ways to recruit and deploy volunteers.

Not wanting to compete with each other for donors and walkers, leadership of the two agencies got together and brought in an ally – Interfaith Cooperative Ministries (ICM) – who agreed to serve as the fiduciary for a collaborative walk-a-thon.

Two related organizations were then outreached – FISH of Greater New Haven, which is the only food pantry in the area that delivers free groceries and Downtown Evening Soup Kitchen (DESK), New Haven’s major evening meal provider and emergency food pantry – and they were invited to join in.

The power of the four organizations with their passionate and dedicated boards, volunteers and small but energetic and visionary staffs chose Edgerton Park for the Walk-A-Thon start and end venue as a beautiful spot to enjoy autumn colors and the vaunted East Rock neighborhood.  They named the event Cook and Care Walk-A-Thon and over the past 17 years it has become a cherished tradition each fall for many area faith organizations, families and individuals to support and enjoy.

Many competing “Walks” have become popular these days and the Cook and Care Walk-A-Thon Planning Committee wanted to find a new way to interest our supporters and the greater public in the event.  The four agencies greatly depend on the money that is raised and divided equally.  Poverty, hunger and a growing elder demographic will continue for the foreseeable future as things stand.

We wondered if there was a larger institution that would be harmonious with the Cook and Care purpose and be able to lend a shoulder to the wheel.  Standing at the stone wall gates of Edgerton Park the obvious question arose – how about Albertus Magnus College?  Just a few blocks away with its large and accessible Albertus Magnus Celentano Athletic Field, it seemed like a place that could be fun for families and add a new twist to the walk.   We also hoped that it would fit with Albertus Magnus College’s community involvement goals and maybe even be fun for students, faculty and alumni that might not have been aware of it before.

Fortuitously, the date October 20, 2013 happens to fall one day after the Albertus Magnus College Fall Festival and leadership at the College when approached with the idea of allowing the Cook and Care Walk-A-Thon to use the venue was receptive.  We are thrilled to have the Cook and Care Walk-A-Thon 2013 hosted at Albertus Magnus College and very thankful that the College has so kindly agreed to make their facilities available.

The three mile walk will begin at the Athletic Field on Prospect Street and proceed through Edgerton Park in keeping with the 17 year tradition of Cook and Care – and wind up back at Albertus Magnus.  News 8 WTNH TV host Keith Kounz is honorary chair of the event and will kick of the walk, entertainment will be provided by the lauded St. Luke’s Steel Drum Band, and music by acclaimed D.J. Chris Pino.   Lots of good food and fun for the whole family – so save the date!!

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