Oakland, California (EastBayDaily) — On October 19th, 1100 riders from 13 states and all parts of the Bay Area came together to cycle and skate in the fight against senior hunger.
The 5th Annual Wheels for Meals Ride successfully raised $165,000 to date, up from $135,000 last year, and $20,000 five years ago. The ride has grown to be a major event of the Tri-Valley area, starting out with a humble 426 participants and growing by nearly twenty percent each year.
“The success and growth of this major event would not be possible without the generous sponsors, fundraisers, and volunteers, who give of their products, resources, and time to make their community a better place,” said Executive Director, Cindy Houts.
Riders traveled far and wide to take part in what is fast becoming a yearly rite for many. Dani heard about the ride from friends in California and traveled from Sweden to be a part of the fundraising festivities. “It was a wonderful experience. The countryside is beautiful and I loved the course.”
For the first time, roller skaters joined in on the fun, skating 15 miles to feed seniors in need. For Nancie Zimmerman, this would be the longest time and distance she had ever skated. “I'm reminded over and over that accomplishing something big is sometimes just a matter of starting down a path and not stopping when things get a bit tough.” This was her first time participating, but she assured us she’ll be back. “There is something so exciting about being part of a mass exercise event. The energy of the crowd combined with supporting a worthy cause, just got me all pumped up. Count me in for the Wheels for Meals Ride 2014."
We have our dedicated fundraisers to thank for a large chunk of this year’s success. These committed and enthusiastic individuals reached out to their friends and family to spread the word about our seniors and raised more than $90,000, up from $75,000 last year. Many went above and beyond with creative methods for securing donations. One fundraiser wrote personalized notes to neighbors requesting support; another long-time supporter, Jan Wexner, gifted hand-made scarves in exchange for donations. “We entice donations with scarves, homemade marmalade, and anything else we can conjure up.” But perhaps her most simple yet sound piece of advice is to “ask everyone you know. If you don’t give them the opportunity, then they can’t choose to donate.”
Out on the course, the cyclists and skaters cruised through beautiful autumn vineyards and stopped off for hydration and fun at themed rest stops staffed by the Meals on Wheels programs. After passing under the towering finish line back at Shadow Cliffs Park, they enjoyed a delicious BBQ lunch, and expo with games, refreshments, vendor booths, and live music.
$165,000 goes a long way in feeding hungry, homebound seniors and will allow more than 2,000 seniors of Alameda County to continue receiving the warm smile, friendly greeting, wellness check, and nutritious meal delivered every day.
For ride information, please visit http://www.wheelsformealsride.com.