Dubuque community hikes to help refugees

The Hike to Help Refugees event took place in front of Christ the King Chapel at noon Sept. 19. Or rather, the event started at the chapel. The participants walked on a route that took them from Loras to University of Dubuque to Clarke.

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Photo by Rachel Brands

The event was sponsored by the Dubuque International Day of Peace Committee and the Iowa United Nations Association. This is the fifth year the event has taken place in Dubuque. The first three years, the walk took place in various parks, and the most recent two were in town.

“It’s so easy in Iowa to forget about all the problems people are experiencing elsewhere,” said first-year Shannon Schuster. “I think any time there’s an opportunity to open your eyes up to it, you should take advantage of it and try to help out.”

Before the walk, all members were required to sign up and pay a fee; $10 for students and $20 for adults. At the halfway point and at the end, there were volunteers stationed there to hand out water bottles to the walkers.

The participants reached their final destination at around 1:15 p.m., which was much faster than anticipated. The walk was scheduled to be finished at 2 p.m. The barbeque across the street dubbed “BBQ in DBQ” was scheduled to start at the finish time.

Art Roche, a member of the planning committee for the Dubuque International Day of Peace festival and board member of the Iowa United Nations Association, was moved upon hearing stories about refugees around the world and decided to get personally involved with the project.

The turnout for the march was smaller than expected ­— there were about 10 people, two of which were Loras students. The rest were members of the Dubuque community. According to Roche, the turnout last year was much larger, consisting of about 30-35 people.

“This is a fun fall activity that is a good way to alert and educate people while they’re still doing something that they enjoy, like hiking or walking,” said Roche. “People in Dubuque are generous. They want to do something and this is something they can do.”

All funds raised at the walk will be donated to the Relief of Syrian Refugees.

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