HATFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Hundreds of cyclists rode through the scenic pioneer valley on the first Sunday of fall, all to raise money for the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts.
An agency that’s trying to feed on a monthly basis, 100,000 individuals facing food insecurity.
“This is down from the peak last November when we provided food assistance to 125,000 individuals but this is still 20 percent more than pre-pandemic levels, so we are not out of the woods by any stretch of the imagination,” said Andrew Morehouse, Executive Director of the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts.
The “Will Bike 4 Food” fundraiser went virtual last year due to COVID restrictions, so for all it was good to be back.
“Every dollar the food bank raises, they can purchase four meals for families who need food in western Massachusetts, which is amazing,” said Brian Lapis. “You can do the 10 mile the 25,50, or the 100 mile if that’s your thing.”
As the emcee, 22News Storm Team Meteorologist Brian Lapis gathered the cyclists at the starting line, before sending them on their way.
Off they went, with cyclists going on a 25 mile ride, starting in Hatfield. They trained hard for this event, but coming out on top doesn’t mean as much to them as the fundraiser itself.
Susan Galereave, a Florence cyclist said, “Yeah, We’re not in for the speed, we are in it for the the team spirit, to raise money for Food Bank of Western Massachusetts. A great cause, just a fun day to be out on our bikes.”
“A lot of us take our access for food for granted and there are so many local people who don’t have that,” said Laurel Turk of Sunderland.
Since the first Will Bike 4 Food in 2011, the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts has raised over $1 million, the equivalent of 4.5 million meals for our neighbors in need. Their food gets distributed to 175 local food pantries across all four counties in western Massachusetts.