Father Christopher Heanue, an administrator at Holy Child Jesus Roman Catholic Church in Richmond Hill, is undertaking a special fundraising effort early next week to support the parish food pantry.
Heanue will be joined by parishioners Paul Cerni and Tom Chiafolo on a spiritual and physical 10-hour journey biking 100 miles from the parish at 111-86th Ave. to Most Holy Trinity Church at 79 Buell Lane, East Hampton, Long Island.
Heanue is calling the ride, “100 Miles of Hope.”
“It’s trying to inspire people to know that inside each and every one of us, there’s an ability to always be able to push ourselves for greater things and higher goals,” Heanue said.
Though Heanue is nervous about the bike trek, he says that the support and words of encouragement from people reaching out to him and the parishioners has been a motivating force.
“In a few days we’ve raised close to $6,000 for our parish outreach initiatives. Every donation — big or small — is a person that is rooting for us and praying for us,” Heanue said.
Throughout the course of the coronavirus pandemic, donations to Holy Child Jesus Roman Catholic Church have maintained the operation of the food pantry, according to Heanue.
Heanue decided in conjunction with the bike ride to raise people’s hopes and spirits and raise funds for the parish’s outreach initiatives, which includes the food pantry that provides meals to families in need twice a week.
“These have been difficult months. It is vital that the food pantry continues to serve those in need, and I am committed to doing all I can to keep bringing hope to our people through its service,” Heanue said.
Heanue doesn’t consider himself much of an athlete. During the pandemic he began cycling more often going on a 10-mile ride and eventually ventured out to Far Rockaway Beach, the Marine Park Bridge and the Belt Parkway. He has even biked to Jones Beach — a 56-mile round trip.
“I enjoy the peace that comes from it,” Heanue said. “I make a lot of phone calls on the bike ride as a distraction and it gives me an opportunity to catch up with people. It’s a relaxing thing and sort of therapeutic in a way.”
In preparation for the journey, Heanue has been doing shorter challenging rides bicycling a 40-mile route over hills every other night for two to three hours.
Heanue is planning to leave at around 5:30 a.m. to beat the heat — and make short stops for food — hopefully arriving in East Hampton at around 3 or 4 p.m. where he will meet with the pastor of Most Holy Trinity Church.
“When we do embark on this journey we’re not just riding for ourselves — we are riding for others, and I think it’s inspired by them and supported by them,” Heanue said.
To donate to the 100 Mile Ride to benefit the Holy Child Jesus’ food pantry, visit the Go Fund Me Page, “100 Miles of Hope,”or text “miles” to 718-550-6525.