It may be only the second time they’ve done it, but they hope to raise at least $15,000 for an important Aldershot program.
“We never really had a big fundraiser and we knew we needed one”, said Angie Crichton, Director of the Nextdoor Social Space on Plains Road East.
Crichton is referring to the second annual “Tour d’ Aldershot” bike ride planned for September 11th and 12th. Ten thousand dollars was raised the first time the event was held in 2019.
Nextdoor is an outreach program of the ForestView Church. It has supported needy people in Aldershot since 2012. It is located adjacent to the Warwick Surrey neighbourhood where Crichton found that residents of nearby apartment buildings often “felt forgotten”.
“They were marginalized people that were struggling to make ends meet. They felt lonely. There was a need for people to have a place to build friendships, build community, have good food”.
The bike ride will raise funds for a variety of Nextdoor’s neighbourhood programs which in normal times include: cooking classes, sewing classes, lunch programs, English lessons for newcomers, ball hockey programs for children and breakfast events.
Despite the fact that Covid has temporarily suspended many of the programs the agency continues to be active.
“Our Covid response has been to join forces with several other local churches. We are mass producing healthy, wholesome food, around 300 plus sixteen-ounce containers of either soups, stews or healthy salads. (weekly) We give them to the Meal Bag Program at Wellington Square United Church. People won’t need to go to several locations for food”.
According to Crichton Covid has created a real sense of loneliness among the poor. “People are very, very sad. People are yearning for community to be together again”. One Aldershot resident who lives alone recently told her; “My days and my hours are so long”.
Despite the fact that the pandemic has been so disruptive it has also resulted in an increase in volunteer support for Nextdoor.
“People actually have been more generous and more giving to us. We’ve had so many new volunteers. Lots of people have stepped up”, said Crichton.
The Tour D’ Aldershot is being organized by Nextdoor’s partner agency Rolling Horse Community Cycle which is located in the same building and provides courses on bike maintenance and offers sales of refurbished bikes. The tour will run over two days and maintain social distancing through staggered starts.
For Friday the 11th the route is described as “family and friendly” and will run from 3 to 10 km. The event will start at 5 pm and will focus on the new Francis Road Bikeway which runs through the heart of the Warwick Surrey area. On Saturday the 12th the tour starts at 8;15 am and is for cyclists willing to go 40 to 80 km. Registration fee for the event is $25 and donation information is available at: nextdoorsocialspace.com or rollinghorse.ca. Story by Rick Craven