Around 40 participants took their marks on the morning of March 7 for the Move for Malawi 5K, a fundraiser to aid the hunger crisis in Malawi. The proceeds will benefit Benita Africa Mission, a ministry that partners with missionaries in Africa to support people evangelically, economically and socially.
The 5K was hosted by California Baptist University’s Chapter of Alpha Kappa Delta, an International Honor Society of Sociology. The event was held on campus with a course that circled through Campus Bridge Drive, Lancer Lane, Monroe Street and Magnolia Avenue three times.
Dr. Carol Minton-Ryan, Move for Malawi director and professor of sociology at CBU, explained how Alpha Kappa Delta came up with the event.
“Our honors society is unique in that it isn’t just about getting excellent grades – it’s about giving back to the community both locally and globally. This year our chapter voted to provide some urgent food relief for Malawi, Africa,” Minton-Ryan said. “I had just completed my sabbatical there, so I saw the need up close and personal and was very familiar with the nonprofit organization I worked with, Benita Africa Mission. The chapter thought that a 5K might be the best way to raise money.”
Minton-Ryan has been working with Benita Africa for more than five years and is said she is passionate about helping solve the hunger crisis in Malawi. This region is in a current state of emergency and is experiencing a severe famine. Malawi is one of the world’s least developed areas, with 90% of the population living on less than $2 a day. As of March 6, Move for Malawi had raised more than $1,100, enough to feed 260 families.
Minton-Ryan shared that the honor society is planning on making the 5K an annual event. She also explained what makes Benita Africa a valuable partner organization.
“The great thing about Benita is they don’t just do emergency humanitarian relief. When there is a crisis, they step up to the plate, but they also have built wells in eight villages so that the people have clean water, provide irrigation and they help establish community farms,” Minton-Ryan said.
Catherien Meacham, president of AKD and senior sociology major, also said she is excited to help the people in Malawi.
“I’m most looking forward to sending as much money as possible to Benita and Malawi to help feed orphans and widows,” Meacham said.
She also explained all of the hard work that went into making the race possible.
“We had to get city approval and then we had to get approval from everyone at CBU, which took a while,” Meacham said. “Once we got all the permits it was just a matter of advertising, so we went to social media and we had the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences post flyers.”
Robby Geil was runner No. 6 and the first to complete the 5K. He heard about the race from a friend who attends CBU and said he appreciated the laid-back atmosphere of the race and had fun participating.
“I’m going to try and race a horse in October, so I decided I better start training now,” Geil said. “This is the first race I’ve ever done.”
Many runners said they enjoyed their first 5K experience. Shelby Gordon, runner No. 24 and sophomore sociology major, said she was glad to be able to participate.
“I was always really afraid of running so I’m proud of myself for doing this,” Gordon said.
“It’s something I’ve always wanted to do just to prove I could do it, but I also liked the cause. I didn’t know about the Malawi crisis until after I heard about the 5K and realized it was a really important thing that I’m excited that we get to support.”
Jessica McCallum, runner No. 17 and freshman psychology major, ran alongside Gordon and said she enjoyed racing with a friend.
“I enjoy running, and my friend who is in social work told me about the race so I just went for it,” McCallum said. “We’ve been training together, so it was nice to run it together.”
CBU’s first Move For Malawi 5K was a success for both its organizers in Alpha Kappa Delta and the people of Malawi who will receive the aid.