Rider, volunteer, sponsor or supporter, it’s time to kickoff commitment to the 23nd annual Ride for Missing Children-CNY with the first meeting of the year set for Monday, Jan. 14 at Mohawk Valley Community College.
Monday’s ride meeting will take place at the Schafer Theater at the Mohawk Valley Community College Utica Campus.
A special meeting for new riders will begin at 6 p.m. with the general meeting starting at 7 p.m. Informational tables will be set up prior to the meeting start, according to event organizers.
On Friday, June 7, more than 450 Ride for Missing Children riders will travel 90 miles and visit 20 schools on a journey through Verona, Rome, Oriskany, Whitesboro, Utica, Frankfort, Ilion and New Hartford to promote awareness and hope in the plight of missing and exploited children.
The ride is the biggest annual fund-raiser for the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children — New York/Mohawk Valley branch and directly supports poster distribution and child-safety education.
Each rider must pledge to raise at least $500 in order to participate. Last year, the ride raised more than $400,000.
The January meeting is a must-attend as important dates and resources will be announced. The meeting will have a “Why We Ride” passion speaker with 22-year rider and volunteer Dr. Marc Ritter, and a story of recovery will be shared.
“This is a great opportunity to meet ride teammates; learn a bit about our sponsors and how our MV branch, with the help of ride funds, helps recover missing and exploited children and educate thousands of children and their parents on how to prevent child abduction and exploitation,” said Leadership Team Member Chip Hemmel.
The ride was born in the wake of the 1993 tragedy when 12-year-old Sara Anne Wood was abducted in Litchfield.
Lewis S. Lent Jr. of North Adams, Mass., pleaded guilty three years later to the girl’s abduction and murder. Her remains have never been found.
More than 800,000 children have been reported missing, according to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s latest study.
Registration is still open for both riders and volunteers to participate in the 2019 Ride for Missing Children, but slots will be full soon. Find more information and sign up at www.therideformissingchildren.com.