NAPLES, FL – Oct. 24, 2017 – Rider registration now is open for the 2018 Pan-Florida Challenge Ride for Hungry Kids, scheduled for the weekend of March 10-11. The 2018 event features rides of five distances ranging from a family-friendly 10-miles through Naples’ North Collier Regional Park to an epic 200-mile “double century” adventure across Florida, all part of the organization’s goal to wipe out childhood hunger in the state.
“Childhood hunger is an under appreciated tragedy in the United States today,”according to Ed Mullen, the ride’s founder and chairman. “Hurricane Irma left a wake of destruction in parts of Florida that exacerbated the problem this year so we are even more determined that no local children suffer the anguish of hunger.”
Since 2015, Pan-Florida Challenge, Inc. has provided more than 3 million meals to hungry children, with more than 2,500 Florida school children going home each Friday with PFC Power Packs, containing enough food to stave off hunger for the weekend.
Hungry kids are susceptible to poor health and stunted growth, including low birth weight, delayed development, social and learning problems. “Hunger often hinders their ability to function normally and engage fully in school and other activities,” explained PFC Executive Director Jeri Goetz. “Hungry children are more likely to require hospitalization and are at higher risk for chronic diseases such as anemia and asthma, as well as dental and oral health problems” she added.
Angela Holloway, a Gulf Tile & Cabinetry employee, completed the Pan-Florida Challenge in 2017 and already is signed up to ride again next March. “I’ve once was an unemployed single mom with little money for food or bills,” she explained, “and while I’ve overcome the economic hardship, the experience taught me to remember there’s always someone struggling. That someone should never be our children, our future and that’s why I ride in the Pan-Florida Challenge, to help feed those hungry children.”
The 2018 Pan-Florida Challenge Ride for Hungry Kids will build on the success of past years, with four new distances expanding participation to families, children, and casual cyclists. These new riders will join the event alongside the endurance athletes who take on the 2-day challenge. In addition to a modest registration fee, riders raise a sliding minimum donation depending on the distance they choose. Those who are unable to ride are invited to participate through various volunteer and sponsorship opportunities.
The Pan-Florida Challenge is committed to ending childhood hunger in Florida. The organization has provided more than 3 million meals for hungry children across eight Florida counties. Through the proprietary PFC Power PackTM weekend meals program, enough nutrition to exceed USDA recommendations for the weekend is put into the kids’ backpacks on Fridays. Funds raised will feed 2,500 children at 33 elementary schools and aftercare sites in eight Florida counties: Collier, Glades, Hendry, Highlands, Lee, Palm Beach, Okeechobee and St. Lucie.
Our primary fundraising event each year is the Pan-Florida Challenge Ride for Hungry Kids, a charity bike ride across the state of Florida each March. Riders, sponsors, and volunteers are encouraged to participate in the Pan-Florida Challenge.