Fundraising teams freestyle their way through Ride for Refuge this year

Lynda O'Donnell (Admin and Fundraising Coordinator) and Wendy Medeiros (Outreach and Support Facilitator) Lynda O'Donnell (Admin and Fundraising Coordinator) and Wendy Medeiros (Outreach and Support Facilitator) handing out swag bags at CCWN Vineland location.

Fundraising teams for Community Care of West Niagara found creative ways to ‘ride’ during the Ride for Refuge event this year.

Ride for Refuge is a national event where teams join together in regional locations to cycle or walk designated routes to support and raise awareness for charities that provide refuge to displaced, vulnerable, or exploited people. Due to COVID-19 related health risks, the format was not possible, so CCWN and other participants in the Niagara Region decided to “ride freestyle” instead.    

“This year was a little different. Participants could do any activity they wanted in their neighbourhood and with people in their social bubble. They could garden, they could knit, they could walk, they could drink tea or the traditional route of hopping on a bike or walking. It was a national reengineering of the event, and it was well-received and very interactive,” said Carole Fuhrer, Executive Director at CCWN.

The option allowed teams to participate, without putting health and safety at risk. CCWN-affiliated teams, The Speed Demons and Retro Rockets, participated mainly in walking or bike riding around immediate neighbourhoods, but these were two of the many freestyle options Ride for Refuge offered this year.

There were 15 broad freestyle fundraising activity categories including volunteering, fitness, arts and crafts, games, celebration and more.

Teams could participate in one of the many activities suggested on the website, or create their own freestyle activity.

Teams who raised over $75 for those 17 years and under or $150 for adults, qualified for a free Ride for Refuge t-shirt. These were provided in swags bags given to teams at the CCWN satellite location in Vineland by CCWN on Oct. 1 and Oct. 3, the day of the event.

Most teams surpassed this goal and together the Niagara Region teams raised over $16,000. However, to CCWN that was only one part of a larger picture.

“What we really raised was awareness for the most vulnerable, those who are exploited, don’t have a safe refuge to go to, and more. That’s the biggest thing,” said Fuhrer.

Although, COVID-19 made this year’s event a little different, CCWN was amazed by the community support and hopes that this success will continue during next year’s ride.

“Despite the changes, we still had eight teams doing something, somewhere, in support of us and other charities. It was amazing how people still came together and found a way to mobilize and support the initiative and keep the event alive,” said Fuhrer. “We look forward to 2021, and hope we can build on this success next year.”

The event Is done, but donations are still be accepted until Oct. 31. To support CCWN or other charities in the Niagara Region, please visit the Ride for Refuge website.

Community Care of West Niagara is a registered non-profit organization in Lincoln that supports and provides refuge to local families experiencing financial difficulties. It has been serving Lincoln since 1967 and has two locations – one in Beamsville and the other in Vineland.

More info:

Community Care of West Niagara website
Ride for Refuge 2020 website and the CCWN/West Niagara page