Naples, FL – May 23, 2019 – Fundraising for The 2019 Pan-Florida Challenge Ride for Hungry Kids in Memory of Robert Sciolino closed out May 22, bringing in a combination of donations and sponsorships totaling more than $368,000, a new event fundraising record. When 115 riders set off from North Collier Regional Park their hearts were set on providing regular meals for thousands of chronically hungry Florida children: Mission Accomplished!
Shortly after the sun rose on a perfect cycling day in late March, Martina Sciolino led a touching memorial service for her brother Robert, the veteran rider and passionate PFC supporter who died tragically in December when struck from behind by a distracted driver as he commuted on his bicycle 20 miles from his Cape Coral, FL home to work. A devoted husband and father, Sciolino was a prolific writer and outspoken advocate who encouraged cyclists to assert their legal rights as motor vehicles under Florida law.
Amongst the 200-mile riders was Belgian Jean Heuschen, who shared the journey with Sciolino in previous years. Heuschen carried on his bike a small pouch of Robert’s ashes, to be spread on the legendary hill at the end of the day’s ride. The riders snaked through Alva, La Belle and Venus cheered on by local school teachers and volunteers. They finished the long, hot day in Lake Placid, where they enjoyed a nourishing dinner followed by music and a campfire complete with s’mores on the beach.
Early Sunday, Sciolino’s daughter, Renee Montesanti read her father’s ode to the challenging hill, spreading her father’s ashes upon it before the riders set off for the 100-mile ride back to Naples. “Inever thought I could ride that far,” Montesanti said at the end of her journey. “Riding with my dad always was just an idea in my head,” she continued, “but now that I’ve accomplished this, carrying him with me in my heart and my mind, I know he always will be with me and that I can do anything I set my mind on.” Montesanti pledged to return to ride next year.
Donations to Pan-Florida Challenge are still accepted at support.panfloridachallenge.org. More information about PFC’s programs and events, including the upcoming Pan-Florida Challenge for Hungry Kids Golf Tournament is available at our website at www.panfloriodachallenge.org
About Pan-Florida Challenge
Naples-based Pan-Florida Challenge (PFC) is a 501(c)(3) charity with a mission to end childhood hunger across Florida, one meal at a time. Pan-Florida Challenge has provided more than 4 million meals for hungry children through grants, sponsorship, benefactors, and an annual bike ride event. Funds raised are feeding 2,500 elementary school children at 38 schools and aftercare sites in eight Florida counties. Our proprietary PFC Power PackTM contains 13 meal offerings of kid-friendly and nutritious food items meeting or exceeding USDA recommendations for calories, carbohydrates, and protein for elementary-age children. In addition to the Challenge Ride for Hungry Kids, Pan-Florida also will host the Pan-Florida Challenge for Hungry Kids Golf Tournament November 1, 2019 at TPC Treviso Bay in Naples.