FLORENCE – A 2011 Northampton High School graduate and her partner will embark on a bike trip across the country on June 1 in order to raise money for the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts.
Kayla Strom, 21, of Florence and her partner, 23-year-old Cameron Nevin of Moretown, Vermont, both seniors at the University of Vermont who will graduate next month, have organized Kayla & Cam’s Ride for Hunger Relief.
Over the past four years, Strom has studied community development with a special interest in food systems, food justice and hunger relief. Her motivation for the ride is to put her bachelor’s degree to work to support a cause that addresses needs in these areas. Nevin will earn his bachelor’s degree in philosophy. His analytic studies have also instilled in him a strong desire to help others.
The two said starting their philanthropic work for an organization that addresses hunger and food insecurity seemed right to them.
“For a lot of people, such a fundamental human need is not met,” Nevin said. “We thought, ‘Why not start there? Why not start by helping people with the most basic of human needs?’”
Strom and Nevin started planning for the trip in December, coordinating with the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts, for which they hope to raise $5,000 with their efforts.
“Every dollar donated to the Food Bank provides three meals for someone in need,” Nevin said. “If we reach our goal of $5,000 for the Food Bank, that amounts to an extraordinary 15,000 meals.”
Strom and Nevin officially started fundraising on March 1, reaching out to businesses in the Pioneer Valley. Sponsors’ names will be featured on the backs of their jerseys, which they’ll wear throughout the trip. The size of a logo on the jerseys will be proportionate to the amount donated. Individual donors are also welcome.
“Having adequate access to food is a right not a privilege,” Strom says, “That’s why I care so strongly about this project.”
Strom and Nevin plan to end their trip in San Francisco, California. They anticipate it will take two and a half months if they travel 60-70 miles each day. They intend to spend most of their nights camping, although friends will be contacted for hospitality along the way.
“I’m very optimistic,” Nevin said. “The fundraiser is for a simple cause. There’s a lot we could say about hunger facts, but it’s intuitive that people need to eat and not everyone has access to adequate food sources. People really want to help and we’re getting widespread support for this project.”
When the trip is done, Strom and Nevin hope to settle out west. Strom hopes to make a career out of sustainable food systems. Nevin has a similar vision.
To learn more or to donate, visit https://www.youcaring.com/ride4hungerrelief, or email Strom at email@example.com.