As winter completely overtakes New England, we can’t help but look ahead to March and the Pan-Florida Challenge. We are thrilled to exchange the icy cold for two full days of cycling in sunny Florida, as we continue our efforts to raise money to provide meals for hungry children in Haiti. As the excitement around the third annual ride quickly picks up speed, we want to take a moment to explain Help for Haiti’s involvement with, and role within, the PFC.
Three years ago, Jim and Ed Mullen decided to create the “Ride for Hunger,” a cycling relay across Florida, to raise money for hungry kids in Haiti. That first ride was anything but ordinary, as the team ended up cycling through the night, rain pouring down on them, facing a variety of obstacles the entire way. But, nothing could keep the team from completing their ride, and that first ride for hunger was so wildly successful that it became its own entity.
Now, the Ride for Hunger has been renamed, “The Pan-Florida Challenge for Hungry Kids,” (PFC) and remodeled after the Pan-Mass Challenge. Maura Plante, who held previous ties with Help for Haiti, now holds the Executive Director position, and Jim continues to be involved as a member of the board of directors.
The goals of the PFC have shifted toward feeding hungry kids in south Florida because, despite the state having three of the wealthiest zip codes in the U.S., one of every five kids in south Florida goes to bed hungry. However, Help for Haiti remains a founding charity of the PFC, and last year a portion of the money from the ride was granted to us to help purchase meals for starving children in Haiti. In 2015, with the PFC’s help, we shipped 250,000 Manna Pack meals to feed 430 kids a hot meal at school everyday.
The foundational goals of the PFC are directly aligned with the Help for Haiti mission. Maura Plante said, “We know that the only way out of poverty is education. And equal access to education is food.” We are thankful that we were able to play such a large role in the creation of the PFC, and we are excited to be a part of the continuing success of the ride.
This year, the PFC will accommodate 200 riders, each having committed to raising at least $1500 to feed hungry kids in Florida and Haiti. The ultimate goal for this year is over 1,000,000 meals! This will feed a lot of kids in Florida, and some in Haiti too.
Jim is training hard for the ride, as well as four other Help for Haiti team members Danny, Carl, Sue and Courtney. Feel free to check out our fundraising pages, and follow us on our new Twitter and Instagram feeds for live updates! If you’re feeling super inspired, you can even sign up and join us!
Thank-you for your support,
The Help for Haiti Team