"Every rider is asked to raise $1,300, which is the cost to feed one client for a year," said Elana Kanter, events manager for Moveable Feast. The 140-mile trek represents the distance from the local office to the farthest client. Moveable Feast delivers throughout Baltimore City and to 14 counties in Maryland.
"We would love to open a satellite kitchen on the Eastern Shore," said Kanter. "It's hopefully in our next phase."
But for now, Kanter, Blankenship, staff, and a plethora of volunteers are focused on making the upcoming weekend a success. Volunteers provide support and gear driving, prepare meals, hand out refreshments, cheer on riders, take photographs, and instruct yoga, among other things.
Blankenship has participated in the Ride since 2006, when there were about 50 riders. He characterized the event as "a ride, not a race, with riders and volunteers who are passionate about Moveable Feast and its services."
Kanter agreed. "This isn't a bike race. It's made for people who want to step out of their comfort zone and help the cause."
"People say, 'Oh, I could never ride 140 miles.' But you can. I'm a casual rider, and I bike for transportation, or at the beach. Riders come back for the sense of community. We all cheer each other on," said Blankenship.
Riders are a diverse group. There are LGBT riders, straight riders, a father and son rider (with a mom and son volunteering), partners on tandems, and child riders. While most riders are between 25 and 50 years old, the ages of riders range from 9 to early 60s. Riders form teams, composed of two to 23 people, and train and fundraise together, according to Blankenship.
Doug Rose is a team member of the Shirley Temples, and one of the support and gear (SAG) coordinators on the organizing committee. He first volunteered as a SAG driver last year, and liked it so much that he came back again this year to coordinate the training of new drivers.
"As a person living with HIV, I am very fortunate in that I have relatively good health now and I can provide volunteer time for an event that is meaningful to me," said Rose. "I know what it's like to be sick and not have the strength to feed yourself, and I know how important it is to eat nutritious meals to maintain health. Every moment I devote to supporting Moveable Feast is an investment in someone else's health and quality of life. I work with so many good spirits on a concrete and essential mission."
Saturday is a 100-mile ride from Ocean City to Wye Mills. After an overnight stay at Chesapeake College, Sunday's ride goes from Sandy Point into Baltimore City and across the finish line at Moveable Feast's East Baltimore headquarters. All of the money raised goes directly toward feeding Moveable Feast's clients. ■
Ride for the Feast
May 19 & 20
To volunteer contact Elana Kanter