By Kevin Glackin-Coley
The 6th Annual Wheels to Meals bike ride, the signature fundraising event for the St. Leo Food Connection, will be held on Saturday, June 4, 2011. Cyclists can choose from 10, 20, 32, 45, 56 and 75 mile courses through the Puyallup Valley and surrounding area. All rides start and end at WSU’s Puyallup Campus (7612 Pioneer Way East), which will also be the site of a Finish Line Festival including live music, food and a beer/wine/root beer float garden. Riders are asked to raise a minimum of $100, with incentive prizes available to those who raise more than $250. There will be a bike Mechanic from Old Town Bicycle at the starting area, numerous rest stops along the routes, and SAG Wagons will be available to assist any stranded cyclists.
Riders can ride individually or as part of a team with family, friends and co-workers. Team members can ride different routes since they all start and end at the WSU Puyallup Campus, and can then celebrate together their efforts to “fight hunger from the seat of their bike” at the finish line festival. Teams are already being formed at a number of local schools and businesses, including the University of Puget Sound, Pacific Lutheran University, Larchmont, Birney and McCarver Elementary Schools, General Plastics Manufacturing and APA – The Engineered Wood Associates.
The St. Leo Food Connection operates the St. Leo Food Bank (Pierce County’s largest), the Springbrook Mobile Food Bank, numerous Summer Meals sites in Tacoma and Lakewood, and a Backpack Project that provides two days worth of food every Friday during the school year to 430 students at 14 Tacoma Schools who are at-risk of going hungry over the weekend, Summer Meals sites that serve lunch to more than 600 children on weekdays throughout the summer, and provides staffing for the Pierce County Gleaning Project.