AMHERST – The University of Massachusetts Amherst Hillel’s Annual Ride to Provide will be held Sunday, Oct. 6.
The bike ride to support UMass Hillel’s community service programs and environmentally-friendly projects will feature a few new facets this year, including Stride to Provide, a walk around the UMass campus, and a community fair.
“This year looks like the Ride could well be the biggest and the best ever,” said Saul Perlmutter, executive director of UMass Hillel and founder of the Ride to Provide. “With three weeks left to go, we already have 18 teams in formation – a 50 percent increase from last year – and over 100 registered riders.”
The bike ride will include planned 9- 18- and 36-mile bike routes around Amherst.
“The Ride is not only a great, fun, healthy, community event. It also enables our students to experience the joy of making a difference for others locally, regionally, and internationally,” Perlmutter said.
Last year, the Ride to Provide raised $58,000.
“Funds raised by the Ride are making it possible, for example, for Hillel to offer a second community service trip to Israel this year. In addition to our January trip where students will live with families and work in an underprivileged neighborhood, we are planning a spring break program that will focus on environmental issues and community gardening with the Jewish National Fund. Thanks to the Ride, students will receive subsidies to help make these opportunities affordable,” Perlmutter said.
Perlmutter said that both the Stride to Provide – a 5K fun run/walk around the UMass Amherst campus – and the Community Fair “resulted from suggestions made by the planning committee to enable non-riders of all ages to meaningfully participate in the event. We tried a short walk last year as an alternative to a bike ride. It was so successful – some students spontaneously decided to run the whole distance twice! – that we expanded it to a 5k Stride where one could choose to walk or run.”
The Community Fair will enable teams and sponsors to highlight their organizations and to provide engaging activities that will enrich the post-Ride lunch and celebration for everyone.
Teams of five or more riders from non-profit organizations can split fees and funds raised 50/50 between the organization and Hillel.
Throughout the school year, the Ride supports ongoing local volunteer activities such as preparing and serving lunches in a soup kitchen and reaching out to the elderly. This year, Hillel expanded these offerings by planning two programs in August, even before the beginning of the new semester. One was a week-long agricultural and ecological experience with the Jewish Farm School in Western Massachusetts. The other was a post-Hurricane Sandy clean-up in New York. The Ride made these new programs possible.
For more information about the Ride to Provide or to register, visit www.umasshillel.org/ridetoprovide.