The Coldwater Charity Bike Night has raised $8,200 for local youth charities over the past five months.
Gaetanne Robinson and Kari Malmstrom started the event in 2019. Up to 80 local motorcyclists meet up every Tuesday night from mid-May until the end of September at the Coldwater Bowling Centre to participate in 50/50 draws and raffles.
Malmstrom says riders come from Bracebridge, Gravenhurst, Wasaga Beach, Parry Sound and other nearby communities.
“It’s a large area that people are riding from every Tuesday night,” he said.
This year, fundraising efforts benefited Benny’s Club of Waubaushene, which received $3,000 from the event. The Coldwater Children’s Breakfast Club received $2,000, and more than $700 and toy donations were given to the Salvation Army.
“We want to keep it local,” says Robinson. “We are trying to help out kids in our community.”
The Charity Bike Night also raised $2,500 to help Coldwater Elementary School purchase laptops.
“It makes us feel really good to have accomplished this,” Malmstrom said. “It’s awesome to generate that much money.”
He says when they present the cheque to the charities, the looks on the recipients’ faces make the fundraising efforts worthwhile.
“Every year, we’ve grown the numbers bigger and bigger,” he said. “We greatly appreciate everyone’s support, and we look forward to 2023.”
Cindy Pearson-Ayton is the founder of Benny’s Club, a youth organization that was started after her 14-year-old son was killed while biking in 2009.
“It was one of Benny’s wishes that he wanted to have a youth group,” she said. “It’s a free youth group for all children.”
The group does arts, crafts and sports; they also take youth on camping and field trips.
“The money we just received from the Coldwater Charity Bike event will help bring children to camp,” Pearson-Ayton explained. “We will also be using the funds to purchase snacks, different sports equipment and different crafts.”
Without the support of the Coldwater Charity Bike event, Pearson-Ayton says Benny's Club would not be possible.
“They all have such a warm heart and caring spirit,” she said. “The support that we get is absolutely amazing.”