Funds raised from a charity bike ride and 5K run will help put shoes on area children's feet and get Brazilian children off dangerous streets.
The 5TH Annual M.A.C. Ride & Run is slated for August 25, according to Patrick Rivers, one of the organizers.
The ride starts at 7:30am.
“This year we're adding a 5K run, and it starts at 8:30am,” Rivers said.
The M.A.C. Ride & Run offers a variety of courses for all ages and skill levels, including a 10 mile, 20 mile, 40 mile and 62 mile route, and a 100 mile Super Challenge.
“The 100 mile course takes in most of the 62 mile course but it adds on a different section as well,” Rivers said. “The 62 and 100 mile course both go to the top of Caesar's Head.”
“The 40 mile course basically goes to Highway 11 and then you turn around and come back,” Rivers said.
The 10 mile course is a Family and Kids Bike Ride that winds through downtown Easley.
Registration is $35 for the ride and $15 for the 5K run. Register by visiting www.rideformac.com
During the ride, there will be multiple “support and gear” stops as well as mobile support following the riders on their routes.
“No rider is left to their own devices,” Rivers said. “Great Escape will be here in the beginning to help pump tires up or help anybody that needs any last-minute help. Fleet Feet will be here before the 5K.”
A devotional will be held before the ride begins.
Proceeds from the event goes to buy shoes for area children.
“This is our fifth year,” Rivers said. “Over the last four years, we've put 700 pairs of shoes on kids in Pickens County.”
The “big goal” is to put shoes on the feet of every student in every elementary school in Pickens County.
“That's the dream,” Rivers said. “To do that, that's about $100,000. We're not there yet.”
Last year, the money provided shoes at Ambler Elementary.
“There's a big need there,” Rivers said. “To see those kids' faces, to put a smile on them – to let them know that somebody cares about them. To let them know, 'Hey, God loves you and we love you,' you don't have to go anything for it, here's a pair of shoes.”
Proceeds also go to support Hope Unlimited, a mission organization dedicated to the needs of street children in Brazil.
“We've raised over $10,000 for Hope Unlimited,” Rivers said. “It's a Christian ministry in Brazil. They have an orphanage. They take kids off the streets of Brazil and teach them life skills, teach them how to be productive citizens, and they go back out into the world there.”
Hope Unlimited is not only a life-changing ministry, it's a life-saving one for these kids.
“In that part of the world, there's actually a bounty on these kids' head,” Rivers said.
The street kids survive by stealing from area merchants, who then put a price on the kids heads.
“100 percent of the registration goes to putting shoes on kids' feet and helping Hope Unlimited,” Rivers said. “Our sponsors cover the cost of putting the event on.”
Easley First Baptist sent a group to Brazil several years ago and church members wanted to continue to help.
“We figured out that you can buy a plane ticket and go over there for a week or you can take that same money and give it to them, and that will last them an entire year,” Rivers said. $2,500 takes a kid off the street.”
Over the past four years, the ride has managed to raise enough to take 4 kids off the deadly streets for an entire year.
“You have a local ride but you have a global impact,” Rivers said.
For the second year in a row, Easley First Baptist is partnering with 5 Point Church to put on the ride and run.
Rivers said it's great that the event brings together churches with different styles of worship working towards a common goal.
“Just because somebody wears blue jeans to church and somebody wears slack, you can still serve the same God and you can still love on kids,” Rivers said.
The ride has been growing every year.
“Last year was the biggest ride we've had,” Rivers said. “We had so many people say, 'If you did a 5K run, I'd participate.' Not everybody's got a bike.
“This is for all different kinds of riders and runners,” he continued. “If you're all Spandexed up and have a road bike, that's great. If you've got a beach cruiser and want to see what you can do, then we've got that too. It's family fun. It's not a race. It's nothing to get intimidated about. It's about a healthy lifestyle and doing something for somebody else.”
For more information about the 2012 Mission Action Challenge Ride & Run, call 859-4052 or visit www.rideformac.com.