SOMERSET, NJ - The Tour de Franklin Charity Bike Ride in Somerset, NJ is the Franklin Food Bank’s largest annual fundraising event, drawing up to 800 participants and 100 volunteers together in one day to fight local hunger. It is always scheduled for the last Sunday in April heralding in spring and often serving as the first bike ride of the season for many avid cyclists, and this year’s date is April 26.

Unfortunately the COVID-19 pandemic has made large gatherings like the Tour de Franklin unsafe and imprudent. Yet during this pandemic, people can and should exercise outside individually or with sufficient distance.

Therefore, the Tour de Franklin Charity Bike Ride will not cancel, but will rise to the occasion. It will adapt and reshape into an Individual Charity Bike Ride. As usual, the bike routes for all rides will be published and available for all participants, and this year all cyclists are encouraged to ride their route individually, on a day of their choice. Participants have the benefit of choosing a perfect spring New Jersey day according to their schedule and are encouraged to post pictures of their ride on the Tour de Franklin’s Face Book page.

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“The wellness of the community is our utmost priority, and this is a great way to support the Food Bank, enjoy the spring weather with a bike ride while practicing “social distancing” that the pandemic requires”, explained Lisa Frey, Tour de Franklin Chairperson.  

The COVID-19 pandemic has also caused immediate and drastic job losses, and the Franklin Food Bank has seen a significant increase in requests for help. The Food Bank receives almost no government funding and is financially straining to meet the sharp spike in demand.

“The Franklin Food Bank desperately needs the $60,000 to $80,000 in funding that the Tour de Franklin provides, especially to support our neighbors who abruptly lost their jobs and have a limited safety net,” stated Frank Hasner, Franklin Food Bank Executive Director.

The Tour de Franklin annually provides the Food Bank with critical funding, and on-line registrations, donations and sponsorships still make it an easy way to support the Food Bank.  To learn more or contribute to the Franklin Food Bank, visit FranklinFoodBank.org and like TourdeFranklin on Face Book.