Oil your bicycle chain, dust off your helmet, pound the mud of your sneakers and ride, walk or run anytime during the first week of June, urge the organizers of this year's Veggie Wheels ride.
All monies raised June 1 through 7 will be used for the sustainability of Veggie Wheels via the Cattaraugus Region Community Foundation — Veggie Wheels Fund, a 501(c) tax-deductible organization.
Veggie Wheels is a program of the Cattaraugus County Health Department launched in 2015 by Athena Godet-Calogeras, a health department volunteer and an adult education instructor with Cattaraugus-Allegany BOCES. From late June to early September, Veggie Wheels makes weekly stops at designated housing sites, bringing naturally grown vegetables from local farms. Low-income families, the disabled and senior citizens are able to select locally grown produce at no cost to them and also are shown how to prepare and incorporate the selected produce into their diets.
“Ideally, we would all ride together as we have done the last two years," Jean-François Godet-Calogeras, a professor emeritus of theology and Franciscan Studies at St. Bonaventure University, explained. “But we didn’t want to lose momentum because of COVID-19. Veggie Wheels aims to provide healthy produce to the underserved in our community who need it more than ever now.”
This year’s event will be conducted run in memory of Joe Schueckler, who had been an active member of the community and a supporter of Veggie Wheels from its beginning. He and his wife Theresa could be seen volunteering on the day of the event, and she will continue to support riders, walkers and runners.
Registration is $25. Larger donations and sponsorships are encouraged. The Cattaraugus Region Community Foundation suggests people sponsor a rider, a walker or a runner by challenging someone to ride, walk or run one mile for each dollar donated.
Donors are asked to designate whom they challenge and for what distance when they register.
Photos documenting rides, runs or walks can be shared on social media #OleanVeggieWheels. Persons who have questions should visit the website or call 716-372-3348.