Two bicyclists will be giving new hope to some residents of southern Lancaster County when they ride in the 13th annual Dream Ride Saturday, July 26 to raise money for New Hope Community Life Ministry in Quarryville.Dream Ride Projects is a Lancaster-based organization that promotes bicycling as a vehicle to achieve health and well being. Anyone who rides in the event can raise money through sponsorships for the charity of their choice.
The ride, which will be held in the western part of the county on the rural roads surrounding Marietta, raised more than $1 million for local charities last year.
This year, Gary McMullen of Willow Street, who has ridden for New Hope the past three years and was their only rider, will be joined again by Brian Wheeler of Landenburg, Chester County. Together they will ride about 90 miles.
"The cool thing about it is all of the money goes to the ministry," said Ginger Holler, director of New Hope Community Life Ministry. "It's a really wonderful fundraiser and we're really excited about it."
McMullen, former board chairman of New Hope, will ride 30 miles and Wheeler, who joined the board in the fall, will ride 62.5 miles, according to Holler. Wheeler is a deacon at Bethany Presbyterian Church in Oxford where Holler's husband is pastor.
Wheeler said unlike other cycling events, Dream Ride is non-competitive and draws people from every age group.
"I would recommend the ride to anyone who enjoys being outside and getting a little exercise," he said.
Wheeler said he was asked by Holler last year to ride in support of New Hope. He had already been riding a bicycle to alleviate some foot pain he developed from running.
"As a fundraiser for New Hope, Dream Ride takes on special significance," he said. "Through the work of New Hope Community Life Ministry, our efforts contribute to the spread of the gospel and the easing of earthly suffering through the Christian counseling ministry."
McMullen also has a passion for New Hope and for bringing awareness to the social services his ministry has to offer residents of southern Lancaster County, but the ride means something else to him as well.
"Last year I found even more meaning in riding Dream Ride as I rode in memory of my aunt and uncle who were both recent victims of a DUI accident," said McMullen, who added that he felt compassion for the drunk driver and his family and prayed for Christ to come into their lives.
"New Hope has been instrumental in transforming many such lives," he said. "I pray that in some way my ride will further the truth and hope in Christ found in counseling in Quarryville and elsewhere."
Two years ago, McMullen rode by himself and raised $1,000 for New Hope. Last year there were seven riders who raised more than $2,500.
"This year we would like to raise $4,000," said Holler, who encourages anyone who wants to ride in the event to contact New Hope or visit www.dreamrideprojects.org.
Donations can also be made to Dream Ride in support of New Hope by calling the ministry at 786-2802 or writing a check to New Hope Community Life Ministry, 248-A Maple Ave., Quarryville, Pa. 17566.
The Dream Ride fundraiser, which is New Hope's newest one, is important to the ministry because it relies solely on the financial support of its 19 member churches throughout the year and from individuals.
New Hope also has two other fundraisers; a fashion show in April and banquet Oct. 30. There used to be a golf tournament but a lack of participation ended the event.
Holler said individuals and families are being changed through New Hope's counseling and support groups.
"Whether the issue is depression, anxiety, guilt, failed relationships, struggles with money or drug addiction, people are finding hope through Christ-centered counseling," she said.
New Hope also offers support groups and educational seminars for residents of southern Lancaster County.