More than 300 people raised over $73,000 for charity during the Ride for Refuge event in Fort Langley on Saturday morning by cycling or walking.
It was part of a national campaign that saw more than 6,000 people participate in 26 communities across Canada, raising more than $2 million for more than 100 charities.
Ride for Refuge partners with more than 175 independent charities every year.
It started in Canada in 2004, launched by the Christian missionary organization International Teams Canada in Kitchener, Ontario, with just 25 cyclists.
The aim of holding the ride in September is, according to the ride website, ” …to give participants a very small taste of what it’s like to be seeking refuge. It’s designed to be challenging — both in distance travelled and weather endured.”
Riders had the option of 10km, 25km or 50km distances, while those who walked covered a 5K route.
One long-time Fort Langley participant, Surrey Celia Hill, a veteran of six previous rides, was part of a team campaigning for the New Hope Community Services agency that works with refugees in Surrey.
“It’s a great way to participate and raise awareness of your charity,” Hill said.
Organizers said the number of participants who cycled or walked was slightly down from the year before, but the amount raised in donations was up by a significant amount.
Teams that entered in the non-competitive event could choose from a list of approved charities to fundraise for.
In B.C. there were rides in three locations, Vancouver, Victoria and Fort Langley.
The Vancouver teams raised $276,000, while Victoria riders and walkers raised $88,000.
In Fort Langley, the 16-member “village advocates team” raised the most of any local team, beating their goal of $5,000 by raising $7,892. The S A Foundation
The “credo cubs” team was second, more than doubling their $2,000 goal by raising $4,093.00 for Mercy Ships Canada.
Third belonged to the “hungry pedalers” team representing the Sources Langley Food Bank who raised $3,926.00 toward their fundraising goal of $4,000.00.
The team page noted that Sources Langley Food Bank, as the recognized member of Food Banks Canada, providing support to over 700 households living in Langley City, Langley Township, Aldergrove and Walnut Grove.
The Ride for Refuge supports charities that work with displaced, vulnerable, and exploited people around the word including the homeless, refugees and First Nations people.
Since 2004, the ride has helped more than 500 charities raise more than $12 million.
The event is one of two national campaigns managed by Blue Sea Philanthropy (BSP), a registered Canadian charity that also administers the the Coldest Night of the Year.
The BSP website lists the registered non-profit group’s stated goals: “to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of other registered charities by providing centralized fundraising events with access to specialized expertise in planning, execution, administration, and inherent economies of scale related to such events.”