Runners Help Out Refugee Programs in Syracuse

Oct 28, 2013

Runners were at Willow Bay to raise money for refugee programs
Runners were at Willow Bay to raise money for refugee programs
Credit Hannah Warren/WAER News

A group of about 50 runners gathered at Onondaga Lake’s Willow Bay park this weekend for a 5-K race to benefit non-profits working in refugee resettlement.

Fayetteville-Manlius High School senior Caroline Tangoren organized the Global Community 5-K race with her friends to raise money, both for Oxfam International and Catholic Charities of Onondaga County.  She says it was important for a lot of reasons to divide the proceeds between community and international organizations.

Caroline Tangoren helped organize the 5-k run to benefit refugees resettled here, as well as international aid programs.
Caroline Tangoren helped organize the 5-k run to benefit refugees resettled here, as well as international aid programs.
Credit Hannah Warren/WAER News

“It sort of comes from the ideology think globally, act locally.  If you really want to help refugees and help them rehabilitate from all they’ve been thorough, I think you need to address the problem at both ends.  You need to obviously help them in the camp, but just because they’ve found a new safe home, for example, here in Syracuse, it doesn’t mean they can jump back into life as normal as it can be.  They really need help getting on their feet again.  Half the money goes to helping them get on their feet and half of the money goes to helping them really in their darkest hour.” 

Craig Donnelly and Maria DiCocco were among the first to finish the race on Sunday. They said they enjoy shorter races like five “K”s because they’re less about race competition and more about bringing people together. And, they say it’s icing on the cake to help a worthy organization at the same time.

“We kind of get to have a nice picnic.  It turns out to be a nice day, and you meet a bunch of people along the way,” said Donnelly

DiCocco added, “Exactly; we like running anyway, but if we can help somebody or help an organization and run, I think it’s the best of both worlds.”

Caroline says the event raised a total of $3,000 for the nonprofits, and she hopes that the race is the first of many efforts to benefit resettled refugees, in Syracuse and beyond.