Bicyclists hit road to raise awareness of state poverty
Recent cuts in the Minnesota state budget make Bernadette Dunn cringe. "It appears the cuts are targeted more toward lower-income people," said the director of Catholic Campaign for Human Development in the Crookston (Minn.) Diocese. "Who benefit...
Recent cuts in the Minnesota state budget make Bernadette Dunn cringe.
"It appears the cuts are targeted more toward lower-income people," said the director of Catholic Campaign for Human Development in the Crookston (Minn.) Diocese. "Who benefits? It's not the people who work and live at minimum wage."
The state's most recent budget includes cuts in state subsidies for child care and health care for low-income people.
Those cuts are one reason Dunn organized a local bicycle ride to raise awareness about people living in poverty.
Five bicyclists from Moorhead and Crookston biked between the two cities Tuesday. They completed the 70-mile route to show solidarity with a group of Catholics who are bicycling from San Francisco to Washington, D.C., to bring awareness to the same issue at a national level.
The "Brake the Cycle" tour also encourages Catholics to become more involved in anti-poverty programs. It is sponsored by the national Catholic Campaign for Human Development.
In the United States, 33 million people live in poverty. Minnesota has seen a 15 percent increase in visits to food shelves since 2000, according to the Minnesota Food Share program.
"That's a lot of hungry people," Dunn said.
Ali Metcalf, a student from Minnesota State University Moorhead, was one of the riders who decided to bike to Crookston. It was a fun way to bring attention to a good cause, she said.
"There's lots of folks doing well right now, but there's others who struggle to even find enough to eat," said Mike McNeil, a rider who works in the diocesan office. "We can't forget that."
The riders ended their day with a prayer service at the Cathedral of Immaculate Conception in Crookston where they met a group who biked from Oslo, Minn. They then ate a simple meal of a sandwich and chips to remind themselves of those who have little to eat, Dunn said.
"They'll be tired and thirsty and hungry, but that's all they'll get," she said.
Another group of bicyclists spent Tuesday night in Fargo.
Twenty bicyclists from around the country are riding under the auspices of Global Exchange, an international human rights organization dedicated to social and environmental justice.
This year's ride, from Seattle to Washington, D.C., focuses on the themes of racism and the United States' dependency on oil, said Cherlyn Seruto, one of the riders who is from the Los Angeles area.
Readers can reach Forum reporter Erin Hemme Froslie at (701) 241-5534