UPDATE: Will Bike 4 Food charity cycling event raises $161,732

On Sunday, September 30, The Food Bank held our 8th annual Will Bike 4 Food charity cycling event, presented by Stop & Shop, at The Lion’s Club Pavilion in Hatfield. More than 400 cyclists of all ages and experience levels participated in the event, raising more than $157,000. However, during the following weeks after the event, donations continued to come in, bringing the final total to $161,732.

“We are incredibly thankful for everyone’s support in making this our most successful Will Bike 4 Food event ever,” explains The Food Bank’s executive director, Andrew Morehouse. “It’s inspiring to see all of our riders, volunteers and sponsors working together to help create a western Massachusetts where no one goes hungry and everyone has access to healthy food.”

Cyclists chose to ride one of four routes — 10, 25, 50 or 100 miles — through the Pioneer Valley to help raise funds and awareness for food insecurity in our region. Additionally, local businesses and organizations formed teams and raised funds. The top three fundraising teams were Heart & Soul (Cardiovascular Associates at Cooley Dickinson Health Care Center) ($8,850), Stop & Shop ($7,300), and Tighe & Bond ($6,420). Individuals and teams have until October 30 to complete their fundraising.

The 406 registered cyclists were the most in the event’s eight year history, which has continue to grow year-after-year. Since Will Bike 4 Food began in 2011, the event has raised more than $701,000 for The Food Bank, providing the equivalent of more than 2,103,000 meals to our neighbors in need throughout western Massachusetts.

“This my fifth year riding in Will Bike 4 Food, and I’ve been riding every year to promote food security,” says cyclist Michael Sustick of Northampton. “The Food Bank does such great work, and we need to support it anyway we can. This is my effort to do that.”

All of the proceeds from Will Bike 4 Food will allow The Food Bank to distribute healthy food to more than 200 partner agencies, including food pantries, emergency meal sites and shelters. It will also help support our direct-to-client feeding programs, including Brown Bag: Food for Elders (serving thousands of area seniors) and its Mobile Food Bank program (bringing fresh, perishable food directly to under-served communities).

Will Bike 4 Food is made possible through the support of its sponsors, including presenting sponsor Stop & Shop, Alekman DiTusa, Cooley Dickinson, Disability MGMT Services Inc., Easthampton Savings Bank, Health Net Plan, Melanson Heath, People’s Bank, UMass Five College Federal Credit Union, and USA Hauling & Recycling.

Donations to riders and the event will be open through October 30, and can be made by visiting www.willbike4food.org.