Sault Ste. Marie Fire Services has teamed up with the United Way this year for the second annual Pedals for Possibilities event, keeping the theme of emergency responders.
This two-day cycling fundraiser, which takes place May 30-31 this year, helps raise money for the United Way to help them in their fight against poverty in the area.
Last year’s goal was to raise $283,000 and bike 283 kms, in honour of participant Constable Sonny Spina’s badge number.
This year’s goal is even larger – to raise $91,100 and cycle 911 kms between five cyclists – 9-1-1 being in honour of the first responders taking part yet again this year. This breaks down to 183 kms per team member. Each rider will be cycling both days in different areas of the Algoma Region, such as Elliot Lake, the Sault and Wawa.
“Constable Spina did an amazing job (last year), but we kind of wanted to go along the team aspect this year,” Fire Chief Peter Johnson said in a media scrum at the Water Tower Inn on Thursday morning.
Johnson said Fire Services decided to jump on board and support the United Way because it’s an important organization to stand behind.
“We like what the United Way represents as a team and we really are pushing that team concept this year to accomplish this,” he said.
Keeping consistent with last year, the team will be stopping at various schools, who are being asked by United Way to hold their own fundraising events for this initiative, along the way (each cyclist stopping at schools in the district they bike in), collecting cheques as well as talking a bit about fire safety.
“Schools are important because poverty has no boundaries and we want to make sure that we capture all those aspects,” Johnson said.
United Way Special Events Intern Rachel Zakrocki was in charge of planning this year’s event. Working with the United Way for the past year, Zakrocki has planned previous events, but this one is her largest to date.
She said she thinks events like these are an important way to get youth involved and make them aware of local poverty.
“It’s addressing poverty at their level – making them understand that it is present in their community, and they can make a change in their community to reduce poverty,” she explained.
“It’s so important to gain that education piece and also just to (get) the community involved in what the United Way does and what the great work our fire services does as well and our great sponsors.”
Various fundraising events will run from now until the main event in May. For a full list of these events, check out United Way’s Facebook page here.