LETHBRIDGE: A local man's "cycling for soup" journey ended Thursday with a big cheque, a grateful charity and a desire to do more. Peter Etches raised $3,500 for the Lethbridge Soup Kitchen, after biking 700 kilometres over seven days - traveling from Jasper to the U.S. border.
"I can't believe he bicycled all that way," says June Kometz, chair of the Lethbridge Soup Kitchen Association. "I think it's marvelous for people to get out there and do something so visibly. It's just wonderful."
Etches chose the kitchen as the benefactor for his latest charity stunt after volunteering there with his family. He says they often get donations of food, but rarely cash for equipment upgrades and repairs. Kometz agrees. "In the early days there were lots of seniors who would come at the end of the month when they got their pension cheques and give us $20. God bless them. But now they're passing away without replacement."
Kometz says her group plans to use Etches' donation to replace the kitchen's convection oven, which has fallen to disrepair, adding the upgrade is even more meaningful as the need to supply free meals in the community rises. While the soup kitchen typically supplies an average 70 meals per day, lately it's risen to about 100.
As for Etches, he's already planning another cycling trip for next year. But he's keeping it a mystery for now. "I don't think I can top the distance, but I may change my approach." Stay tuned.