5th Annual Wheels for Meals Ride Cycling and Skating to Feed Homebound Seniors

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Local roller derby girls join cycling fundraiser supporting Alameda County Meals on Wheels.

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Riders feelings like champions along the route.

I like to put my energy towards helping people who can’t help themselves.

Alameda County Meals on Wheels is gearing up for the 5th Annual Wheels for Meals Ride, a fundraising cycling event through the Livermore Valley, on the 19th of October. This year, an expected 1200 riders from 13 states and every reach of the Bay Area will be cycling, and for the first time, skating across the finish line.

Sara Sutler-Cohen, known as "Bomb Scott" on the derby track and former member of the Tilted Thunder Rail Birds, is rounding up girls from derbies throughout the community, BAD and Undead Bettys just to name a few. They are leaving their team and derby surnames behind and forming Team "Skate for Meals."

Don’t be fooled by the intimidating names, roller derby is a sport competitive in spirit but centered around the values of teamwork and camaraderie.

"In Roller derby, there is a sense of community and camaraderie that is unparalleled. You can’t help but immediately bond with these girls, it’s instantaneous," said Sara.

So it comes as no surprise that these women are eager to come together as a team and push their limit to skate 15 miles to feed our elderly homebound neighbors.

"I like to put my energy towards helping people who can’t help themselves. The way our society treats seniors is a sick problem and it makes me upset," expressed Sara. She described Alameda County Meals on Wheels as a "small yet effective" program and the Wheels for Meals Ride as the type of fundraising campaign worthy of her time.

Each Meals on Wheels meal costs about $6.00 to prepare and deliver, but funding levels leave a deficit of $2.25 per meal. As food and transportation costs, along with the senior population, continue to rise, the deficit is rising too. Participation in this event, as a cyclist, skater, sponsor, or volunteer, can help bridge the widening gap.

"We strongly encourage fundraising. Last year, only 20 percent of riders fundraised and yet we still brought in $75,000 from fundraising alone, that is 12,500 more meals for hungry, homebound seniors," said Cindy Houts, Executive Director.

The Wheels for Meals Ride is first and foremost a fundraiser, but it is also a good, fun time for the whole family. With three routes to choose from, we have something for all levels: A family friendly 15 mile route for families and beginners, a 35 mile route for those who are looking for more of a challenge, and a 70 mile (metric century) route perfect as an end of season ride for the serious cyclist. Cyclists (and skaters) will return to Shadow Cliffs Park for the post-ride expo where they will enjoy a BBQ lunch, gelato, refreshments, live music, and community booths.

Alameda County Meals on Wheels’ (ACMOW) mission is to assist frail, homebound seniors to maintain their independence by fundraising and providing financial support, community outreach, and strategic assistance to Meals on Wheels programs in Alameda County that deliver nutritious meals and perform wellness checks.

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