Bicyclists will take to the roads around McPherson County to aid children who do not have a permanent home on May 19.
McPherson Housing Coalition is organizing the seventh annual Bike Around McPherson For Families. BAM FAM is a ride designed to raise funds for the nonprofit organization’s Homelessness Prevention Program.
Check in will begin at 7:30 a.m. May 19 with the ride starting at 8 a.m. at First United Methodist Church, 1200 E. Kansas Ave. in McPherson.
Amy Lopez, McPherson Housing Coalition program director and case manager, said the issue of homelessness is not restricted to urban areas.
“I think it’s important for people to realize that, because it’s hard to wrap our minds around the fact that this is actually happening in McPherson,” Lopez said.
While you may not see children sleeping on the streets, many are without a permanent place to call home.
“We have families living with other families,” Lopez said. “We have children and their mothers who are running from domestic violence.”
McPherson Housing Coalition prioritizes aid for families with children, providing rent assistance, utilities assistance, case management and working with the schools to keep students in the classroom.
Families are referred to the program through organizations such as the Kansas Department for Children and Families, churches or landlords, but they can also apply independently.
To qualify for assistance, families must reside in McPherson County, make less than 30 percent of the area median income, have children in the household at least 50 percent of the time and be willing to enter into case management for a minimum of six months.
“We’ve had, this year alone, 78 children in our program,” Lopez said.
BAM FAM riders can choose from 20, 40 and 62-mile rides that wind through several towns in McPherson County.
“It’s a good preperatory ride for the more extensive rides that are coming up,” Lopez said.
The ride is open to cyclists of all levels. Cyclists are asked to carry water and wear an approved bicycle helmet.
Listening to music with any type of headphones and texting are not allowed while riding.
BAM FAM registration is $50 and includes light snacks, support stops, a T-shirt and lunch.