As the group readied for its final ride of the year Sunday afternoon, Sally Butts relayed a rallying cry.
“We are delivering food without a home to a home without food,” she said.
Riders then aimed their bikes away from Bike Clark County, 1604 Main St., and toward the Vancouver Farmers Market a few blocks away. There, they collected 714 pounds of leftover food donated to the Clark County Food Bank and brought it to the nearby Open House Ministries homeless shelter.
From there, the food will make its way into the bellies of those in need.
“Any way we can get food to people is a good thing,” said Alan Hamilton, the food bank’s president. “On a bike, it’s even better.”
Butts, of the Vancouver Bicycle Club, thought of the partnership a few years ago, and a pilot program began in 2017. The idea was that, rather than reloading unsold food or offering it at lower prices, vendors could make a tax-deductible donation to the food bank.
The idea made sense to Hamilton, a cyclist himself, especially considering that the food is fresh.
“It’s first-rate,” Hamilton said. “It’s not damaged goods.”
Roughly 10 to 15 people typically participate, but just four riders were on hand this rainy Sunday — armed with trailers, panniers, backpacks and yellow Vancouver Bicycle Club jerseys. The group made nine deliveries this year for a total of 4,213 pounds of food.
Butts refers to the trips as “fossil fuel-free food delivery.” For those who enjoy cycling and giving back, the rides can be doubly fulfilling.
“This is the perfect combination of both of those passions,” Butts said.