Ride for Food to aid rescue nonprofit ends

Paulette Schwatz and Peggy Gardiner Ride for Food for Food LinkPaulette Schwartz, left, and Peggy Gardiner Ride for Food for Food Link.

UPDATED, Oct. 4: The nine in-person Arlington participants (plus one adorable dog) had a great ride on lovely roads Sunday, Oct. 3, and are thrilled at the progress they have made.

They continue to accept donations through Halloween, Thanksgiving and until Giving Tuesday, on Nov. 30, as we enter the busiest season of the year for food insecurity. When the cold season brings heating costs, there is less money for food, and your support will help Food Link rescue more food.

Team members are bicycling, hiking, camping and kayaking this fall to fight hunger in a healthy way. All are a part of the Ride For Food team for Food Link, Arlington’s own food-rescue nonprofit.

The 10th annual Ride For Food, a charity event, took place Oct. 3, in Dedham, with 20 hunger-relief charities fielding teams. Because of the pandemic, however, there is a “do it yourself” virtual option.

Team captain Karin Turer says, “During last year’s Ride For Food, each participant did their own activity since there wasn’t an in-person ride – people got very creative and really enjoyed getting to do an activity at a time and place that was convenient to them. So when you add the uncertainty of planning with a pandemic around, having a virtual option makes sense.”

Sixteen people are on the team, pretty evenly split between those participating in the ride and others doing their own thing.

Family affair

Team member Katherine Whang has enjoyed making the Ride For Food a family affair. She says, “Our family of four, including our 5-year-old daughter and 11-year-old son, are really excited to go on a two-day backpacking trip on the Cape.

“We're heading out in less than a week and hoping for good weather. Last year we did a 5K run together for Food Link, but since we've been enjoying more hiking lately, we decided to combine our love of hiking and backpacking with our support for Food Link.”

Katharine continues, “I think Food Link is a valuable, important organization in our community.  Environmental sustainability and stewardship are important to me, and I want to support them in reducing food waste, which also reduces methane gas emissions and conserves energy, and simultaneously helping so many in need right now have access to good food.”

Pals participate

Friends Peggy Gardiner and Paulette Schwartz have been supporters of Food Link since its very beginning. As volunteers for a food-distribution program run by Arlington EATS, they saw how effective Food Link was in distributing fresh produce, bread and other essentials to Arlington’s seniors.

Paulette says, “When we heard about the Food Link team, we were very excited about joining. We liked the idea of designing our own activity, route and time especially since we could train and ride in Arlington.

“We chose to bike-an activity we both enjoy and wanted to do more of. After a couple of weeks of training we completed our 25-mile ride through Belmont, Cambridge, Arlington, Lexington and Bedford, primarily on the Minuteman Bikeway.”

Paulette continues, “Most of us learned to bike when we were very young, and it is something you really can do at any age: We are in our 70s and 80s.

“It’s great exercise; you can go as fast or slow as you want, and there are safe paths to ride on.”

Flexible team

The Ride for Food team is flexible—you can pick your activity (walk, ride, roller blade, etc.) as well as time and place.

Team captain Turer had a lot of fun last year, walking or biking on all 604 of Arlington’s streets. This year, she’ll be exploring the waters of Arlington, by biking along or kayaking through all of Arlington’s water sources. “Not all of Arlington’s streams can be kayaked,” she says. The Mill Brook is too narrow, and the Alewife Brook has poor water quality, and downed trees make it impassable.

But she’ll be riding her bike, with an inflatable kayak in a trailer, along these waterways and then paddling in Spy Pond, the Mystic Lakes and the entire Arlington portion of the Mystic River. “I can’t wait,” she said.

There’s still time to join the team. The ride has a suggested minimum fund-raising of $350, and team members have found it surprisingly easy to raise the funds.

Schwartz says: “Raising money for such an important cause feels good—our friends and family have been enthusiastic supporters!”

Food Link logo

To join the Food Link team, to donate to our riders, or to learn more, visit https://ride.threesquaresne.org/foodlink2021

 Sept. 19, 2021: In-person dining returns at Minuteman High, as Food Link helps

This news feature by Karin Turer, who is participating in the fund-raiser she writes about, was published Tuesday, Sept. 21, 2021. It was updated Oct. 4.

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