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Eight “donkeys” travel miles to benefit inner-city program

 At chapel on Oct. 21, T.J. Foltz, the Mid-Atlantic Regional Director for Scripture Union, ended his message on the Good Samaritan by inviting the audience to do something by getting on their donkey and riding.

While the audience stared at him in confusion, Foltz reached behind the stage, pulled out a bicycle and said, “This is your donkey.”

The “Get On Your Donkey and Ride” Bike-a-thon was the first in what will hopefully be an annual event on campus.

On Nov. 7 at 8:30 a.m., eight people got on their bikes and rode to the steps of the Philadelphia Art Museum, an 18-mile route. While some chose to drive back to campus from Philadelphia, others rode back, biking a total of 36 miles.

According to Foltz, the bike-a-thon raised approximately $2,400 for child outreach programs in the inner city to fund 23 after-school programs. Bikers collected per-mile sponsorships from friends and family before the event.

Originally, the Bike-a-thon was supposed to be held on Halloween morning, but it was postponed due to rain. However, despite the inclement weather, six brave souls made the journey, just because they wanted to. Foltz advised them not to go since the roads were so treacherous, but they insisted on going.

Over both days, the riders rode a combined distance of about 276 miles to and from Philadelphia, giving almost five hours of their day to biking. Eastern also gave a lot to the bike-a-thon, including advertising, volunteers, and even a security officer to ride both ways to make sure everyone returned to campus safely.

“Eastern gave so much for this,” Foltz said. “Also, the local Acme donated Powerade and bananas to the riders.”

By all accounts, the bike-a-thon was a huge success.

“It was a good ride with a good trail and lots of nice scenery,” sophomore Brandon Schmidt, one of the Nov. 7 riders, said. “I’m glad I came out for it.”

Foltz has big plans for the Bike-a-thon in the future. He is considering organizing a contest between Eastern, Messiah College and Philadelphia Biblical University to see which school can raise the most money during the Bike-a-thon. Also, he might be able to get one of the local bike stores to donate a bike to the person who raises the most money.

In the meantime, however, Foltz assures us that we can look forward to one thing that we know will happen at next year’s bike-a-thon: “The provost swore on a stack of Bibles that he’s going to ride next year.”

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