The task of organising and executing Ride for Rations 2020 was met with an unprecedented level of challenge due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Around March 2020, just as the organising committee was in the initial stages of planning the event, the world situation around the pandemic became increasingly volatile. The initial plan was to simply postpone the event to a little later in the year, but still keeping the previous years’ format where participants cycle from Malaysia to Singapore over the course of three days.
However, with Malaysia announcing a lockdown in March, followed by the circuit breaker in Singapore in April and May, the Ride for Rations team switched gears and decided to hold the entire event in Singapore. In addition, the event also needed to factor in the safe distancing regulations implemented by the government. For the first time, participants would cycle individually or in small groups of no more than 8, in an indoor or outdoor setting. Each participant had the option to cycle a minimum distance of either 200km or 440km in the course of one month.
Indeed it was challenging time for all of us involved in Ride for Rations 2020: the uncertainty of Ride for Rations 2020; and of the participants and fundraising. On top of this, the managing of the ongoing rations distribution.
Ride for Rations 2020 finally kicked off on 1st September 2020. Despite the pandemic, 290 cyclists participated in the cause and completed their cycling distance in the course of the month. By then, cyclists were able to exercise in groups, which helped. RfR 2021 participants lived up to the challenge and the banter despite it being a virtual edition. Some organized their own rides creatively. For example, Crank n Chain co-ordinated with Sentosa to have rides on Sentosa. Some cycled to checkpoints to reminisce what they missed through past RfR editions. Some others cycled more than 200 km within a day whilst some cycled 100 km for a stretch of days; each to fulfill their own challenge.
With the funds raised by the Ride for Rations participants and the generosity of the community at large, a total of $746,208 was raised in 2020, up from $429,000 in 2019. This is a remarkable achievement, keeping in mind the uncertainty faced by the community in terms of personal financial security amidst the pandemic.
The fundraising program was also expanded in 2020 to provide monthly rations to 501 families, up from 440 in 2019. In addition, 184 school-going children received monthly breakfast rations, an increase of 15 from 2019.
In 2021, the monthly ration programme will be expanded to include seasonal fruits. The beneficiaries will also receive a cooked meal during the 4 main festivals – Chinese New Year, Hari Raya Puasa, Deepavali and Christmas. Plans to set up a snacks corner at the various estates where the rations are distributed has been put on hold due to safe management measures.