A sea of purple shirts crisscrossed Woolwich Township as the second annual bike-a-thon in support of MennoHomes was held on June 23.
The event was sponsored by Elmira Mennonite Church and participants were encouraged to walk, run or bike along sections the Kissing Bridge Trailway from Wallenstein to the West Montrose, covering anywhere from 15 to 30 kilometres.
Every participant collected pledges in support of MennoHomes.
A motorcycle ride in support of the cause took place in the afternoon with some 20 motorcyclists and passengers enjoying the ride.
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Organizers had hoped to raise $60,000 from the event and easily met that goal early in the day.
“The goal is to raise the money to support MennoHomes’ core mission of providing affordable, decent rental housing,” said Dave Bechtel, one of the organizers of the event. “Before the event even left the parking lot we had close to $55,000 and we are still waiting for some more pledges to come in.”
MennoHomes provides affordable housing to low-income families. In the townships of Woolwich and Wellesley the need to provide homes has largely gone to rural families.
MennoHomes is preparing to build another project in Elmira after the success of the build on Centre Street last fall that saw families move into the semi-detached homes in the spring.
The Centre Street build had the support of local tradesmen and students from EDSS who worked on the project as part of a school program.
This time, however, the agency will be using a pre-existing home located in Waterloo, which will be carefully deconstructed and moved to create two new duplexes, one in Elmira and one in Wellesley. The organization will be able to salvage three floors of the old home for the builds.
In Elmira the build will occur on Ratz Street and will likely not require as much labour as the Centre Street build, as it is not a build entirely from the ground up but rather a relocation project. There will still be a lot to do, from survey work to site plan preparation, excavating and preparing the driveways.
The Wellesley build will happen on David Street, with one of the three floors transported to the village.
A $250,000 fundraising campaign for the developments has been launched, to help cover costs for both projects.
“This bike-a-thon was a great way to get things started and we had over 60 participants that took part through out the day helping us with our fund raising goal,” said Bechtel.