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November 24. 2013 10:07PM

In Derry, they're spinning their wheels for food pantries

In this season of giving, Joshua Bourdon wanted to do something to help local food pantries struggling to provide for the needy.

The East Derry resident was moved to action after learning that food pantries are facing depleted stocks and bare shelves as the holiday season approaches.

Bourdon said he became inspired and began working with local church and food pantry leaders to develop the first ‘To Give Good’ Spin-athon.

“We are riding to alleviate hunger,” Bourdon said.

In the spin-athon, people will pedal stationary bicycles for two hours to raise money to help food pantries in town. The event is set to run from 10 a.m. to noon on Dec. 14 at The Workout Club, 35 Manchester Road. Registration, coffee and a light breakfast will be available starting at 8:45 a.m.

Bourdon said he worked with Cynthia Dwyer, executive director of the Sonshine Soup Kitchen, and Judy Jurentkuff, director of the First Baptist Church Community Food Pantry, to develop the idea for the spin-athon.

“It was Cynthia, Judy and me that came up with the idea together; we were all brainstorming to make this thing happen,” Bourdon said. Bourdon also credited his wife, Leah Bourdon, with assisting in the effort.

After the concept of the spinathon was developed, Bourdon began making phone calls to recruit riders.

“I just wanted to find a way to bring as much awareness and raise as much money for these organizations,” he said.

Riders will earn $200 each for a two-hour ride that will go toward a fundraising goal of $5,000. So far, 16 people have signed up to ride and generated $3,200, Bourdon said.

Bourdon also spoke during a public forum at Tuesday night’s Town Council meeting, asking councilors for their support.

“If you are interested in riding, or know someone you want to contribute to, let me know,” he said.

After hearing the request, Councilor Mark Osborne stepped forward and agreed to ride in the event. First Baptist Church Pastor Malcolm Widness also plans to ride, Bourdon said.

“They are local leaders in our community and they are leading by example,” Bourdon said. “I think that’s great when that happens.”

Even though he isn’t an avid cyclist, Bourdon said he will be riding as well. He added that he will not only be riding, but leading the spin-athon with Shawn Mullen, a spin instructor.

Bourdon said the facility has about 25 bikes available for riders, but more can be added if necessary.

Organizers will be holding a silent auction on the day of the event and local businesses are encouraged to donate items.

Money will be collected on the day of the spinathon during registration. The minimum donation is $200, but riders can donate more if they want to, Bourdon said.

All of the money and proceeds will go to benefit the Sonshine Soup Kitchen and the First Baptist Church Community Food Pantry, Bourdon said.

Each rider will be assigned an organization to ride for and checks should be made payable to: Sonshine Soup Kitchen or First Baptist Church Community Food Pantry.

For more information, contact Bourdon at (603) 998-2433 or jrbourdon@gmail.com.


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