Rock Island welcomes bikers riding to help with crisis pregnancies
Rock Island residents should expect to see their streets a little busier today as a group of bicyclists riding for a cause make their way through town.
Biking for Babies participants are coming to Rock Island as part of their six-day journey designed to bring greater awareness to crisis pregnancies and raise funds for centers that help the expectant mothers.
Riders are covering more than 2,500 miles, or 150 miles per day, over three routes, with each rider raising funds through individual sponsorships. Their final destination is St. Louis on Saturday.
Father Charles Matthew Klamut of St. Ambrose Catholic Church is spearheading the event in Illinois and helped arrange for the group to stop by St. Mary's Church while it's in town. Today's event begins at 6 p.m. and includes Mass and dinner.
“My old friend Kenny Becker is one of the organization’s co-founders, and he contacted me a few weeks ago with the idea of doing something here as their route passed, and St. Mary seemed like a great, central location,” Klamut told the Rock Island Today. “I think it’s great that these college kids are giving up part of their summer to hustle up support for something they believe in. This really speaks well for our generation of young people.”
The first Biking for Babies ride was in 2009, when riders took in more than $14,000 in donations during an event that started near the campus of Southern Illinois University. Since then, college students from all over have joined the cause by participating in some form in rides that have faced flurries in Chicago, flooded roads in Iowa, and single-day travels covering four states or more.
“As Catholic Christians, we believe in human life and see this endeavor as a form of solitary to that commitment,” Klamut said. “We also wanted to be a part of something that shows we really care about the moms involved here as well. That’s why all the money raised will go to crisis pregnancy centers.”
On the event's website, co-founder Michael Schaefer said the value of Biking for Babies cannot be measured in terms of miles peddled or funds raised.
“The history is part of the penetrating story of pro-life work that is alive and growing stronger—in our families, churches, communities, and in our own hearts,” he wrote.