Mercy College Joins Feeding Westchester to Help End Hunger in the Westchester County


Photo credit: Kenneth Gabrielsen and Feeding Westchester

Runners and walkers starting the Feeding Westchester race.

Many have the blessing to have food on their plates and eat as many times as they like throughout the day but others have to survive with scraps of food they find. That’s where Feeding Westchester comes in. They provide meals and food for those who cannot afford it, but they need help from people in the community to support them. Mercy College was ready to provide their service to them by attending their second annual Miles for Meal 5k Walk/Run.

Feeding Westchester teamed up with Pace University to host their 5k walk/ run in their campus. The race was held on  Sept. 23 and went on for about four hours. Feeding Westchester raised over $50,000 in the event, which is equivalent to 200,000 meals. Those meals will go on to help feed people struggling with hunger in the community. Feeding Westchester reached out to participants via email thanking them for their support and participation.

” Your support helps feed families struggling to make ends meet due to high costs of living, seniors on fixed incomes with medical bills, and children looking at empty cupboards on weekends. We hope you enjoyed the 5K Walk & Run and thank you again for your support.” 

There were about 100 people participating in the event, most of them running and walking in the race and others cheering them on. Amongst those people were sponsors who were advertising their organization or company and handing out pamphlets and materials to individuals. Food trucks were in the area, collecting food from individuals.

Before the race could start, people had the opportunity to take pictures, play games, visit tables, dance and warm up. Stop & Shop sponsors were handing out granola bars and veggie chips, among other snacks to individuals. Those who did not register online beforehand had to pay $20 to register on site. Every individual participant in the race were given a tag with a number to pin in their shirts and a backpack with a water container, magazine, snacks and coupons.

There was a kids run/walk for one mile for the little ones before the actual race started. The race consisted of two laps. Participants had a choice to either run or walk. They also had an option to continue onto the second lap or end the race after the first lap. Some people bought their dogs to join them in the race. Students from Pace University were in a few places along the race cheering the individuals and handing out water bottles. As the day progressed, the amount of people running and walking decreased. Winners would be announced by category. There was a category for the men, women, kids and sponsors.

Mercy College teamed up with the Mav Market, who were one of the sponsors in the event and won an award for their contribution to Feeding Westchester a year ago. Mercy College has a food pantry that Mav Market is in charge of for students who are hungry and don’t have money to buy food.

The event was promoted around the Dobbs Ferry Campus throughout the weeks leading to the run/walk. One of those students took home a big win.

Cristal Rodríguez, who is a freshman majoring in design and animation, won second place for the women’s category. As a first year student, she has made it her goal to volunteer with as many organizations and walks as she can. She wants to be able to devote her time to help others and give back to her community.


Photo credit: Kenneth Gabrielsen and Feeding Westchester
Cristal Rodriguez finishing the race.

Her enthusiasm was shown as she she took pictures in front of  a backdrop with props in her hands and a sticker in her face. She was pumped up for this race and had set a personal goal, to keep running until she had finished both laps. While others opted to walk, Rodriguez and many others led the group of walkers by starting the race with a dash

Rodriguez finished both laps in exactly 22 minutes. Other runners decided to drift off or completely leave the event after finishing the first lap but Rodriguez pushed through and finished the race in a impressive amount of time.

“ I felt awesome, and that I feel like I’ve accomplished something today,” said Rodriguez.


When it was time to announce the winners, Rodriguez was half paying attention. She didn’t expect her name to be called. She went to the event with the mindset of helping raise awareness to feeding the hunger in the community but didn’t expect to win and take home an award.

“And now for the second place in the woman category. Number 227, Cristal Rodriguez,” said the announcer congratulating the winners.

Rodriguez looked around as to be clear of what she had just heard while everyone else looked around looking for her. Her immediate reaction was “it couldn’t have me, did I just win out of all these people?” Sure enough, she did. Once she had realized it was her, she went on the front to claim her silver medal. Rodriguez displayed her number and smile proudly as she made her way to the front of the audience. She was given a free two day workout class with Barry’s Bootcamp as another reward for her win.

“ I’m going to hang the medal in my room so I can be reminded of what I’ve achieved,” stated Rodriguez.

Feeding Westchester has been serving people since 1988 and has a mission to end hunger in Westchester County. They provide seven million meals to people who are hungry across the county every year and work with more than 300 local partners to help gather up food. They supply 95 percent of all food distributed annually to food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters and daycare/residential programs. Last year, they delivered over 8.4 million pound of food and 7.5 million meals to people. They will continue to make annual walks/run to raise more money and awareness to their organization and help feed anyone in their community who are in need of food.