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Cranksgiving, a bike ride to help the homeless ahead of Thanksgiving, set for Saturday

Cranksgiving, a bike ride to help the homeless ahead of Thanksgiving, set for Saturday

Amid an increase in complaints from nearby businesses and residents, police have cleared an encampment on private land north of downtown Omaha used by homeless people.

This fundraiser is part bike ride, part scavenger hunt.

Mode Shift Omaha, a nonprofit group, is hosting the event as a way to collect food and winter clothing for the homeless. Nonperishable food items will be collected for the Siena Francis House, and winter clothing will go to Omaha Autonomous, said Sarah Johnson, membership coordinator of Mode Shift Omaha.

The ride — dubbed Cranksgiving — starts at 11:30 a.m. Saturday. Cyclists will start at the Millwork Commons skate park, near 13th and Nicholas Streets.

From there, cyclists will ride to five stores and bring back one food or toiletry item from each — plus the receipts. The first rider back wins a Mode Shift T-shirt.

Cyclists will be provided with a list of nearby stores and possible items.

This is the first Cranksgiving ride for Mode Shift. Johnson said she hosted a similar event when she owned a local bike shop.

“We’re hoping for a good turnout,” she said. “People seem to be excited.”

Mode Shift advocates for transportation options that enhance quality of life.

Cranksgiving started as a scrappy race involving New York bike messengers. One year, one of the messengers thought that he could use the race as a way to help the less fortunate at Thanksgiving.

Participants don’t need to preregister, but they should be checked in by 11 a.m. at Millwork Commons. People from Mode Shift will be on site from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. collecting donations of nonperishable food items and winter clothing.

Omaha World-Herald: Afternoon Update

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