By Alex Christodoulides
The 5-kilometer walk has been a Good Friday staple at St. John's over the past 25 years, typically raising more than $30,000 for area charities that feed the homeless. Last year's walk brought in more than $35,000 that was given to charities helping the homeless and hungry in the five boroughs.The school said participants had raised $9,000 up front by the day of the walk, and St. John's will continue to accept donations through the end of the semester, so the grand total will likely end up being close to last year's.Its 340 participants come from the university community – many campus fraternities and sororities take part as a component of their service commitment, and some faculty members typically take part – and parishioners who attend Sunday services at the school, the civically minded, the school's alumni, local parents pushing their children in strollers or carrying them on their shoulders and those who just like a nice walk.This year's head count was the highest yet, the school said.The morning began with a short prayer service and blessing in More Church before the participants stepped off on their walk through the borough.The roughly 3.1-mile walking route passed along Union Turnpike to Bell Boulevard in Bayside, where participants stopped at American Martyrs Church to pray the stations of the cross and sing hymns before returning west down 73rd Avenue back to campus, where participants were served a simple meal of bread and soup at Marillac Terrace.”Once they account for the money, it goes to organizations that feed homeless,” said a St. John's spokeswoman. “They'll choose based on which are the neediest organizations in May, once the total [money] is in.”In past years, the funds have gone to organizations such as the Catholic Worker in Manhattan; the Bread and Life Soup Kitchen in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn; Covenant House in Manhattan; the Coalition for the Homeless in Manhattan; and Providence House in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn.Reach reporter Alex Christodoulides by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 155.