Bridges’ Folks on Spokes Ride/Step Forward Walk Goes Virtual - September 13-20, 2020

For 30 years caring people have come out to support Bridges Healthcare's main fundraising event, Folks on Spokes Ride for Mental Health in September. This year, with so much still unknown about the Coronavirus and the COVID-19 pandemic, the ride and its accompanying Step Forward Memorial Walk, will take place a little differently, with participants choosing to ride or walk anytime during the week of Sept. 13 through Sept. 20. There will be virtual kick-off and finish line gatherings to celebrate the continued effort by the community to raise awareness and funds for mental health and substance use disorder treatment.

"After much planning for the possibility of both a live and virtual event, our committee decided that allowing participants to choose when, where and with whom they ride or walk, to avoid any risks associated with large gatherings was the way to go this year," said Charles Montalbano, Bridges' Development Committee Chair. "This event has become such a special day for our community, with so many enjoying the scenic routes and camaraderie of others in support of a critical cause. Our goal is to promote that positive feeling in the safest way possible. We hope all of our loyal supporters will understand and continue to participate, as the funds are more important than ever."

While Bridges has continued to provide mental health and substance abuse services via telehealth since March, and is in the process of slowly re-opening to client visits, the agency experienced a significant revenue loss, like so many other businesses and non-profits.

According to Bridges' President & CEO Jennifer Fiorillo, "COVID-19 has presented serious mental health risks to Bridges' clients. Despite our best efforts to provide treatment via telehealth, the disruption caused by the pandemic has spiked an increase in anxiety, depression, substance use, overdoses and deaths throughout our nation. Your participation is more important than ever, as the mental and emotional health of everyone has been tested by the COVID-19 pandemic, and continues to present a serious risk to those who are battling to stay on the path to recovery."

Proceeds from the event go directly to help local children, families, teens, young adults and adults who need psychiatric, behavioral health, substance abuse and primary care services. Bridges is the lead community-based, non-profit mental health services provider in Milford, Orange and West Haven, and offers services for children and families throughout New Haven County.

Major sponsors to date are The Milford Bank and Subway.

"We greatly appreciate the support of our loyal business sponsors and welcome new sponsors who will receive plenty of online exposure and recognition," said Marcy Hotchkiss, Director of Fund Development & Communications. "However, the key to the success of the event will be personal fundraising by participants. We have set up the tools for all of our supporters to easily register, create a donation page and share their ride and walk with others online, to ask friends, family and colleagues to donate. If each participant raised just $50 we would be in very good shape." All registered riders and walkers who raise a minimum of $25 will receive the commemorative event t-shirt. Goody bags with coupons and items donated by sponsors will also be distributed to participants.

Registration fees have been reduced to $25 for adult riders or walkers, 18 and over, Kids 5-17 accompanied by an adult are free. For more information and registration visit:

For sponsorship details visit:

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