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FRANKLIN, NJ—The Franklin Food Bank invites avid cyclists, local schools, and the Franklin Township community to the Annual Tour de Franklin Charity Bike Ride to support a local cause-fighting hunger.
It is Franklin Food Bank’s largest fundraiser, with the involvement of over 660 riders in the previous year, raising a total of $60,000 in a single day. Months of planning, support from many local business, the engagement of cyclists, and volunteers from the community are what makes the day a success.
The event is scheduled to take place on Sunday, April 24 at Franklin High School, located at 500 Elizabeth Avenue in Somerset.
The day will begin promptly at 8:00 AM, with a well-marked, on road 62-mile bike ride, with a projected amount of over 120 participants.
Participants may choose to attend the 62-mile bike ride, or they may choose between the 40-mile, 25-mile, and the 10-mile bike rides which begin later in the day.
A 1-to-5-mile neighborhood ride or walk is also included, as well as 1-10-mile ride or walk along the scenic D&R Canal path, so that everyone in the community can participate at their desired pace.
Breakfast, lunch and break stops will be provided for volunteers. Volunteers are also eligible for a free bike drawing and t-shirts are guaranteed for those who are registered by April 1.
Silver riders who raise over $150 and gold riders who raise over $300 for the cause will receive a special t-shirt for their contributions.
The Tour de Franklin is a 27-year-old community tradition. The annual April event kicks off the riding season for enthusiastic cyclists, signals the coming of Spring for the Franklin community and presents an opportunity for everyone to provide help to neighbors in need and fight local hunger.
According to the Franklin Food Bank, “hunger is a problem that is here to stay.” The demand for the Food Bank’s services have continued to rise approximately 10% each year since 2007, with close to a staggering 12,000 food packages provided to Franklin Township residents in 2015.
To the Food Bank’s relief there has been increased support from the community since the inception of the Tour de Franklin fundraiser.
The Tour has seen an increase in riders and support in recent years, with the involvement of about 400 to 700 participants annually. This growth is significant compared to its humble beginnings 1989, when only 30 riders gathered to raise $1,500.
The Tour de Franklin Chairperson Lisa Frey is excited due to increased support from the community and the major changes taking place this year.
She explained, “Moving to a larger venue at Franklin High School accommodates more people for lunch and reduces overcrowding and parking congestion. We also invested in easier-to-use registration software to make that process more user friendly for our participants.”
The Food Bank is always seeking innovative way to fight hunger. Their efforts include, maintaining a community garden, working with local farm for surplus produce, and collaborating with food networks.
It is not a government agency and receives government funding only through targeted grants, making the Tour de Franklin event even more important. While the $60,000 raised by the Tour de Franklin sounds like a large sum, it is a small fraction of the Food Bank’s annual budget.
Charlie is the founder and editor of New Brunswick Today, and the winner of the Awbrey Award for Community-Oriented Local Journalism. He is a proud Rutgers University journalism graduate, a community organizer, and a former independent candidate for mayor of New Brunswick.