By Neto Baptiste
Cyclists across Antigua have been pedaling for a cause this month, as they join forces with Veldon Raguette in an effort to raise EC$10,000 for the Soup Kitchen located at the Craft Market in St John’s.
Spearheading the effort is Venessa Kelsick, a women’s cyclist and owner of Pillars Natural, a local company which produces energy bars.
“Since Covid, the Soup Kitchen had not only been feeding the homeless but it is just that some people just could not afford a meal. Initially they used to feed about 30 to 35 people, but since Covid they have been feeding around 70 to 75 persons daily. This whole issue has touched my heart and, forming a new company, I decided that this is one way that Pillars Naturals will be able to give back,” she said.
Businesses and individuals will pay $5 for participating cyclists to complete one lap around the Pam Am Base located in Coolidge. The sponsors would be able to pay for any amount of laps they desire and could even stipulate which cyclist or cyclists they want to have complete the laps.
Kelsick said the response has been overwhelming to date.
“So far, we have had an amazing turnout from the cyclists for this venture … so just to touch on the whole idea of the venture, there is a dire need for a permanent shed structure so people could sit and eat comfortably from the elements of the weather. Initially, we thought it was just a shed but also there is a need for a hand-washing station and a toilet, so we’re going to work on the shed now and hopefully we get enough support so we could do all three,” she said.
A key figure with the Roadrunners Cycling Club, Alistair Savoury, said the effort has been worthwhile thus far, adding that the cyclists are doing their part by actually going out and completing their laps.
“We’re encouraging cyclists,, and people who want to make a donation, that it is not going to be a donation just for the hell of it in one sense. It is going towards the shelter as we have already discussed but the bottom line is that at $5 per lap we encourage the riders to go out and do the laps and where we can get the general public and the businesses to pledge that $5 per lap, they then can go out and ride according to what the pledge is,” he said.
The funds raised will go towards building a 20 x 20 wooden shed and toilet facilities at the soup kitchen.
Other participating clubs are Team Terminix and Wadadli Cycling Academy.