Cross-country cyclist pedals to fight hunger, mark 70th birthday

Patricia Hansen, a Redmond woman, will spend 97 days pedaling across the nation to shed light on hunger in the United States and to raise $50,000 to feed families in need. Her goal is to feed as many families as possible each day of the year and to provide meals that are healthy and nutritious. With an April 1st departure from Astoria, Ore., Hansen will bike in up to 50-mile stretches from coast to coast, concluding her odyssey in Yorktown, Va., on July 7, her 70th birthday. The ambitious journey across Oregon, Idaho, Utah, Wyoming, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky and Virginia fulfills her life long dream to be “cycling at 70 to feed the need.” In 2005, Hansen merged her love of cycling and her passion to help the hungry by founding a nonprofit, Emerald City Lights Bike Ride. With monies raised from the non-profit events, Hansen’s organization has fed 1,000 Seattle-area families over the past 8 years. Having personally experienced wellness through healthy eating, Hansen and her volunteers create 4-day food boxes filled with organic and natural food, as well as dried soup mixes and Hansen’s homemade jams. “My goal in life is to feed more families each day of the year,” Hansen said. “We have people in our own backyards who can’t put food on the table. People seem to remember those in need during the holidays, but we need to help each week, each day.” With tough economic times, hunger and food insecurity have increased markedly in the U.S. According to USDA researchers: • Ending Childhood Hunger by 2015 ... FRAC Releases 2011 Food Hardship Data - Nearly One in Five Americans Report Inability to Afford Enough Food • More than 35 percent had to choose between food and medical care. • Nearly 55 percent made trade-offs between food and utilities • More than 46 percent had to choose between food and paying rent or mortgage Many of the families who benefit from Emerald City Light’s food baskets have been stricken by illnesses, cutting short earning potential and forcing difficult choices between feeding families and buying medicine or seeking medical care. For more information, to view Hansen’s daily progress through her travel blog, Please donate or become a fan on Facebook, visit the website: http://www.facebook.com/l/_AQEjk2TiAQGTvtL4Ipz4UfSGf-aBlXiubXp-997g5VEJhA/emeraldcitylights.com/.