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2023 Charity Challenge - Update

YURA Walkers Raise $20,000 for Student Food Bank

Nineteen members of the York University Retirees’ Association, accompanied by several members of University staff, walked 5 km around the Keele Campus on October 3rd in support of the YFS Food Support Centre.  In total, more than $20,000 has been raised to date from donations received to sponsor walk participants from retirees, friends, family and former co-workers and colleagues.

YURA’s 5 km walk was held in conjunction with the TCS Toronto Waterfront Marathon Charity Challenge, which offers a “virtual” option for registrants to do a 5 km, half marathon or full marathon run or walk on their own.  Holding this year’s walk on campus was intended to raise awareness about food insecurity among York students and to bring attention to YURA’s efforts to help. 

YURA’s goal this year has been to raise funds to assist the Student Food Bank at the University, given than one in four students struggles to afford food, according to a Campus Well-Being Survey conducted earlier this year.  In March 2023, more than 2,500 students relied on the YFS Food Support Centre -- an increase of 1000% over the previous 12-month period.  Additional funding has become somewhat critical in order to avoid a reduction in the food provided to students in need.

The YURA contingent was delighted to have Vice-Provost of Students Nona Robinson, Marisa Barlas of the Advancement Office, Art McDonald of Athletics & Recreation and Barb Bauer of the Vice-Provost’s office join the YURA walkers on October 3rd.  The 5 km event was organized by York retirees Sheila Forshaw, Debbie Hansen and Steve Dranitsaris (captain of the 2023 YURA Charity Challenge team); other fundraising team members were Marla Chodak, Peter Victor, Agnes Fraser, Fran Wilkinson, Diane Woody and Donna Smith.  Other YURA participants who joined the team for the walk included Natasa Bajin, Gwyn Buck, Grace Chui, Theja DeSilva, Rosanna Furgiuele, Ian Greene, Fazyah Mohammed, Elsie Ramkhelawan, Anne Russon and John Wilson.  YURA Executive members Angus Anderson and Jane Grant, along with past YURA Treasurer, Dave Smith, were also on hand to host the group back at YURA’s new office in the Lorna Marsden Honour Court, following the walk. Thanks to everyone who participated in this event!

To Donate

Donations in support of this fundraising effort can be made until the end of October… click here to donate.

Photos from YURA's Charity Challenge Walk on October 3

Photos: Steve Dranitsaris, Fazyah Mohammed, Grace Chui

YURA and the Charity Challenge - Background

The Toronto Waterfront Marathon Charity Challenge unites the spirit of both runners and walkers with a unique fundraising program to support local charities in our community. Participants walk or run for different reasons, largely to support one of many important causes.

In 2022, participants raised over $2.72 million, much needed funds in support of our 150 official charity partners. In fact, since the Charity Challenge began in 2003, close to $51 million has been raised, making a significant impact in our local communities.

Participants register online for the event (either for a 5K, Half Marathon or full Marathon) to raise funds for their charity through a fundraising page generated by Race Roster, an online application used by the Canada Running Series, the group that organizes the annual Charity Challenge. Participants complete a run or walk (5 km, half marathon, full marathon) either virtually during the month of October anywhere; or in-person at the Toronto Waterfront Marathon held on Sunday, October 15th. In YURA's case, we generally walk the 5 km.

For the past four years, YURA members have participated in the Charity Challenge (previously sponsored by Scotiabank), walking 5 km to raise funds for YURA sponsored graduate awards at York. Over those four years, close to $100,000 was raised for the endowment for the YURA Graduate Student Awards through our participation in the Charity Challenge.  This enabled YURA to achieve the goal of endowing in perpetuity the three Awards given annually.  In 2023, YURA’s fundraising cause has shifted to help address the hunger and nutritional needs of a significant and growing number of students at York University.