July 16, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Tenth Annual Wheels for Meals—Ride to Fight Hunger Planned Virtually for June 14

(Courtesy of JFCS) In 2007, David Feuerstein decided to donate his bar mitzvah gifts to Jewish Family and Children’s Services of Northern New Jersey and allocate the funds to various personally important causes such as sending a child with cancer to summer camp and funding a year’s worth of meals for homebound seniors.

David was unique from other teenagers who participated in bnai mitzvah projects in that he decided to continue his involvement in the community well after his bar mitzvah. In 2010, after being inspired by a charity bike ride in New York City, he asked his father if they could start something similar in this area. The family partnered with JFCS to organize a bike ride fundraiser that would help fund the Meals On Wheels program. The response to the bike ride was overwhelmingly positive. In the first year alone, they raised $50,000.

Since then, JFCS Wheels for Meals—the Ride to Fight Hunger became an annual event. Over the years participants have chosen to walk or cycle through various routes that ranged from three to 50 miles long.

David continues his involvement with the bike ride by sitting in on Wheels for Meals committee meetings. When asked about his motivation for staying connected after a decade of devoting his time to this amazing program, he answered that people gathering to do good keeps him involved. “To see so many community members, from kids with smiles on their faces to competitive cyclists to the elderly enjoying a nice day, come together in support of a common goal really makes it a special moment of the year,” said David.

Proceeds from the event go to support JFCS programs for seniors, disabled individuals, disadvantaged families and mental health counseling. Last year 200+ families received support from the Teaneck & Fair Lawn food pantries and 48,000+ Kosher Meals on Wheels were delivered to homebound seniors in Bergen, Passaic and Hudson counties. Due to the coronavirus crisis, JFCS has seen a 28% increase in monthly food pantry appointments and emergency requests, a 20% increase in therapy calls and a 53% increase in meal deliveries.

This year, due to the pandemic, the ride will be virtual. Participants can walk or ride on their own throughout the day on June 14 at the safe location and time of their choice. A live Zoom class will be available to registrants at 9 a.m. that morning, led by two-time USA Cycling National Champion Mara Miller, for those who have access to stationary or spin bikes in their homes.

While the format of the ride may have temporarily changed this year, the core values of doing good, feeding our food-insecure neighbors and bringing the Northern New Jersey community together stay the same. “We all recognize the amazing work JFCS is doing,” said David, “and even as the need increases each year, our riders step up to the plate and meet that need.”

David’s mother, Shira Feuerstein, has been supporting this event since the beginning. “This event began 10 years ago when David (then 15), wanted to continue supporting the work of JFCS. He wanted to find a way to raise money for hunger needs in our community while spreading his love of cycling. His idea of the Wheels for Meals bike event came to fruition and has grown each year. Our family is so proud of his continued efforts and involvement and we are so appreciative of the community support.”

For more information, to register or to donate to the ride, visit www.ridetofighthunger.com, email [email protected] or call 201-837-9090.

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