Sunday, July 14, 2024

Participants in the seventh annual Urban Walk for Haiti follow Storrow Drive along the Charles RIver on Saturday. More photos of the walkers are below the story. (Photos: Marc Levy)

Craft booths and music were among the attractions Saturday at St. Paul’s Church in Harvard Square — the start and end points for the seventh annual Urban Walk for Haiti.

More than 1,000 people turned out Saturday for the seventh annual Urban Walk for Haiti, raising an estimated $50,000 for recovery on the shaken island nation.

In the wake of the 7.7-magnitude earthquake that hit Port-au-Prince on Jan. 12, killing 230,000 and leaving 1 million homeless, organizers had hoped for more. “I’d hoped it would be double last year,” said organizer Karen Fritsch, standing in the courtyard of St. Paul’s Church in Harvard Square shortly after the walkers departed.

But she quickly raised her initial estimate — that the $43,000 raised last year would stay flat — based on promises donations would arrive after the event. Some people misunderstood the process and pledged money to be sent later.

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The event was festive as well as sincere, kicking off at noon with music, dancing, food and booths with crafts for sale, and drew participants from as far away as New Hampshire. This year the red garb of City Year participants blended well with that of the official walk T-shirts; colors for the event rotate among the red, blue and green most prominent on the Haitian flag, but Fritsch said the boldness of this year’s colors delights her the most.

“I love the red,” she said.

Walkers followed a three-mile route down along the Charles River on Memorial Drive, across a bridge, back along the Charles on Storrow Drive and back across a bridge to Harvard Square. They will likely be back in a year; estimates for recovery in Haiti all say it will take years to get people out of tent cities and back in homes.