Norte is hosting the third annual Cranksgiving Food Drive in collaboration with Food Rescue of Northwest Michigan on November 22.
Norte invites Northern Michigan residents to form a team and sign up for this year’s Cranksgiving. The event combines a fun bicycle ride—costumes encouraged—with food collection to benefit local families. The annual event started in New York City in 1999 and launched in Northern Michigan in 2018.
This year’s Northern Michigan Cranksgiving begins at 11 a.m. on Saturday, November 22. Cranksgiving riders will need a bicycle, lock, mask and a minimum of $25 to purchase groceries and household items from participating Northern Michigan businesses. To collect all of the items on the shopping list, it helps to ride as a team, but solo riders are welcome. Registration for Norte’s 2020 Cranksgiving is free and currently open at Norte’s website.
“I love Cranksgiving. It’s a blast to see families and teams come out in the cold to have some fun, get a little ride in and do some good,” says Ty Schmidt, Norte’s executive director. “We have two categories, one for folks who want to ride 5–6 miles and another for a more leisurely 2–3 miles. Cranksgiving is a family event intended for people of all ages.”
This year, Norte is hosting Cranksgiving events in multiple locations in Northern Michigan. Currently, Elk Rapids and Traverse City will simultaneously host events. However, Norte is interested in collaborating with other communities to hold Cranksgiving drives as well. “If your community is interested, let us know, and we can help you make it happen,” Schmidt says.
All Cranksgiving events will begin at 11 a.m., with check-in spread out from then until noon to allow for social distancing. At check-in, teams will be given a shopping list and further instructions. When groups finish, they return the items to the starting spot. Norte will work with Food Rescue and area pantries to deliver the goods to families in need in the region. The ride should take around two hours.
To help keep everyone healthy and help stop the spread of COVID-19, Norte asks that riders stay home if they have any symptoms before the event. Teams are required to wear a mask and maintain social distance. Although this is not a race, teams receive bonus points for posting to social media pictures of their team washing their hands.
Food Rescue will distribute items collected by the riders to the Northwest Food Coalition’s food pantries in Antrim, Benzie, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska and Leelanau counties. “I look forward to spending the day with friends to have fun and do good. But Cranksgiving is something more, too,” says Taylor Moore, food rescue manager for Goodwill Northern Michigan. “Cranksgiving gives me the opportunity to think about why we need to have this event: because every year so many people struggle to buy their Thanksgiving meal. The Norte community knows better than most the power of collective action. Just as we can envision new trails and roads where vehicles take more notice, we can envision kids riding their bikes to school with stomachs full of nutritious food. This Cranksgiving, I’ll be envisioning new reasons to bike, and a Thanksgiving free of COVID and hunger.”
This year’s Northern Michigan Cranksgiving is presented by Norte Business Champion, State Farm Agent Susan Rauser. More information on Cranksgiving can be found online: elgruponorte.org/cranksgiving.