‘Tour De Franklin’ Moves To High School

Tour de Franklin 2015[2]

Riders in the 2016 Four de Franklin will start at Franklin High School. Photo: Franklin Township Food Bank.

Submitted by Doreen Clark, Franklin Township Food Bank.

The Franklin Food Bank’s annual Tour de Franklin Charity Bike Ride will be held on Sunday, April 24 at Franklin High School, 500 Elizabeth Ave. It is the Franklin Food Bank’s largest fundraiser, with over 660 riders participating in 2015 to raise over $60,000 in a single day. Months of planning, support from many local businesses, and a team of over 100 volunteers come together with the cyclists and the community to make the day a success.

The Tour De Franklin is an opportunity to bring avid cyclists, local schools, and the Franklin Township community together for one day to support a local cause – fighting hunger. The day starts at 8:00 AM with a well-marked, on road, 62 mile bike ride, with over 120 participants. The 40-mile, 25-mile, and 10-mile rides start later. A 1-to-5 mile neighborhood ride or walk is included, as well as a 1-to-10 mile ride or walk along the scenic D&R Canal path, so that everyone in the community can participate. Breakfast, lunch and break stops are provided, there is a free bike drawing, and t-shirts are guaranteed for all participants who register by April 1. Silver Riders who raise over $150 and Gold Riders who raise over $300 will also receive a special shirt.

Since its inception 27 years ago, the Tour de Franklin has grown into a community tradition. The annual April event kicks off the riding season for many avid cyclists, signals Spring for the Franklin community, and provides an opportunity for everyone to help neighbors and fight local hunger. The Tour has seen considerable growth in riders and support in recent years, with 400 to 700 participants annually, a substantial increase from the Tour’s humble beginnings in 1989 when 30 riders banded together to raise $1,500. To the Food Bank’s relief, it looks like the increased support is here to stay, and they made changes to accommodate the increase in riders. Tour de Franklin Chairperson Lisa Frey is excited with the changes, explaining, “Moving to a larger venue at Franklin High School accommodates more people for lunch and reduces overcrowding and the parking congestion. We also invested in easier-to-use registration software to make that process more user friendly for our participants.”

Unfortunately, it looks like hunger is also here to stay. Demand for the Food Bank’s services have increased approximately 10% each year since 2007, with close to a staggering 12,000 food packages provided to Franklin Township residents in 2015. The Food Bank seeks innovative ways to fight hunger, including managing a community garden, working with local farm for surplus produce, and collaborating with larger food networks. It is not a government agency and receives government funding only through targeted grants, making events like the Tour de Franklin even more important. While the $60,000 raised by the Tour de Franklin sounds like a lot, it is a small fraction of the Food Bank’s annual budget.

To learn more about the Franklin Food Bank and the Tour de Franklin, please go to www.franklinfoodbank.org or the Tour de Franklin on Facebook.

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