Sunday morning, dozens of bike riders flooded the streets and trails of Northwest Indiana for Meals on Wheels of Northwest Indiana’s annual Spinning Spokes, Feeding Folks cycling event. Cyclists of all skill levels challenged themselves across five different courses of varying lengths while raising funds for an incredibly important cause.
Meals on Wheels is a national nonprofit dedicated to providing American seniors the chance to comfortably stay in their homes through nutritious meal delivery and wellness checks with the help of kind volunteers. Their Northwest Indiana branch established the Spinning Spokes, Feeding Folks event after a group of cyclists from Trek Bicycle Store’s Joyriders involved with Meals on Wheels NWI Executive Director Sandra Noe approached her about fundraising and raising awareness for the organization.
“It’s incredible. The ambassadors from Trek kept saying ‘Sandy why aren’t we doing a bike ride for Meals on Wheels, we’ve got to ensure that every rider out in Northwest Indiana knows you’re out there,” Noe said. “Now that people that have never been exposed to Meals on Wheels came out today, they’ll know that 1 in 6 seniors is at risk of hunger and will be more aware of what’s happening with their relatives.”
To keep the event accommodating for families and all types of riders, courses varied from 12-mile trail rides up to 62-mile road rides. Meals on Wheels also provided breakfast from Dunkin’ Donuts, while Trek helped perform repairs and maintenance on the fleet of bikes brought to the starting line. Everything came together to make the event a favorite for both the hosts and riders.
“I think the neat thing is that cyclists are such a unique group,” said Jodi Bella, Business Development Manager at Meals on Wheels. “Some of these people are getting to the age where they’ll be caregivers to their parents, but also younger people whose grandma or grandpa might benefit from Meals on Wheels. We get to do something they love, so they can have a great time and still learn all about us.”
The annual event's fun and philanthropy is so consistent that it has rapidly turned into a tradition for many of the riders such as veteran cyclist Marty Semrau.
“Just about everybody that comes here knows somebody that’s been touched by Meals on Wheels,” Semrau said. “It’s such an important cause to support, particularly if you’ve ever had a family member that was homebound. They’re not only providing food but doing wellness checks to make sure everyone’s safe out there.”
A number of companies like Oberweis Dairy and McColly Real Estate set up at the starting line to show support. McColly’s Director of Marketing and Technology, Monica Decker, rode in the event last year and sponsored it this year.
“Meals on Wheels just gives so much back to the community,” said Decker. “They’ve always been a strong cause that McColly’s wanted to support. Every year it grows more, so we just want to get the word out there!”
Learn more about Meals on Wheels of Northwest Indiana at mownwi.org.
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