Cranksgiving Brings Together Faculty, Staff, Students, and Community

Bike Race Part of Ongoing Relationship with Grace Episcopal Church Food Pantry

Hartford, CT, November 25, 2014 – Dozens of cyclists from Greater Hartford and the Trinity community gathered at the Chapel on a sunny but crisp Saturday morning for the fourth annual Hartford Cranksgiving, a distinctive and exciting bicycle race to support Hartford’s Grace Episcopal Church food pantry. Their mission: navigate the streets of Hartford in order to reach four checkpoint grocery stores, purchase specific items, and then return to the food pantry.

After the 62 cyclists, including over 20 from Trinity, were given their list of required grocery stores and food items, they worked to plan their routes and find a competitive edge. Some teams were armed with racing bikes and state-of-the-art GPS systems. Others had nothing more than a bicycle, a backpack, and an intimate knowledge of Hartford’s roads. What they all shared was the desire and willingness to help brighten this Thanksgiving for some of their neighbors in need.

Johannes Evelein, professor of language and culture
studies, makes a purchase during the
2014 Hartford Cranksgiving race.
To that end, this year’s Cranksgiving was a huge success; participants donated over $2,000 worth of food and $750 in financial support to the pantry. Both the level of donations and the number of participants set new records for the event.

Hartford Cranksgiving, now in its fourth year, was founded by Richard Wegener, longtime active member of Grace Lutheran Church, and James Ebert, Trinity's senior associate director of leadership giving, after Wegener participated in New York City’s version of the race. They saw an opportunity to give back to the Hartford community during the holiday season and started an event of their own.

Since then, Trinity’s involvement has expanded dramatically, both in participation in the race and support for the cause. This year, 20 students from the “Cycling, Sustainability, and the City of Hartford” first year seminar participated in the race along with language and culture studies professors Johannes Evelein and Dario Del Puppo, who lead the seminar.

Additionally, a group of over 20 volunteers—including students, staff, and community members—helped register participants, bring donations to the food pantry, and organized a children’s race around Trinity’s campus. Students set up at checkpoints around campus with donations for the food pantry, and kids raced on their bikes to collect the items. In all, 10 children participated in the race and helped support the food pantry.

 Trinity faculty, staff, and students were among the volunteers
and participants in the 2014 Hartford Cranksgiving.

Trinity’s connections to and support of the food pantry at Grace Episcopal Church, located in Hartford’s Parkville neighborhood, extend far beyond this one event. Edgar Soto ’15, one of the students who helped make Cranksgiving a success this year, volunteers at the pantry with several others from the student community service organization JELLO every week. He has been involved since his first year at Trinity and now has the responsibility of scheduling and organizing Trinity’s volunteers at the pantry.

By all accounts, Cranksgiving was a great event. The participants, the volunteers, and the organizers left proud of their work. Though only five trophies were awarded at the finish line, one thing was clear: this was a race that everyone won. ​