By Julie Greene – Herald Mail Media
San Mar Family and Community Services has revamped its biggest annual fundraiser in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The annual four-day Great Bicycle Tour along the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal has been shortened to one day with a virtual program on a second day with the events occurring July 11-12.
The virtual program features “special performances,” including one by singer Avril Lavigne, said Keith Fanjoy, CEO of the Boonsboro-area nonprofit.
San Mar officials reached out to Lavigne’s management and are fortunate she is supporting the cause and donating her time, Fanjoy said in a phone interview.
Last year’s bike ride raised over $86,000 for San Mar’s programs.
“It’s our hope the community rallies around us during these difficult times and we can generate some significant fundraising,” Fanjoy said.
Money raised benefits San Mar’s three core programs: The Bester Community of Hope, the Jack E. Barr Center for Well-Being outpatient mental-health clinic, and treatment foster care. The nonprofit organization licenses and trains certified foster care parents who care for children with significant mental health or behavioral needs as well as supports those youths throughout their stay in the program, Fanjoy said.
Donations can be made through https://sanmarhope.org/donate or by donating to support a rider or providing donations during the live-stream event, Fanjoy said. Information about the ride, including how to sponsor a rider, is available at https://sanmartgbt.org.
The fundraiser features a shorter bike ride around the C&O Canal in the Williamsport area on July 11 or participants can do a full day of riding in their community with the support of a digital application that is provided, according to the nonprofit’s website.
Over 100 cyclists had signed up by Monday to participate, Fanjoy said.
The livestreaming program on July 12 includes a recap of details about the bike ride, information about San Mar’s programs, and performances, he said. That program can be watched at https://sanmartgbt.org, through the Facebook page for the Great Bicycle Tour or through Antietam Broadband’s WCL-TV on-the-go app, Fanjoy said. The livestream also will be aired from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on Antietam’s WCL-TV, channels 6 and 806.
Lead sponsors for the 33rd ride are The Nora Roberts Foundation, Antietam Broadband, SEK, Bitner Henry, Keller Stonebraker and Staples.
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