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Ride of Their Lives: Boy Scouts to bike 500 miles to benefit huricane victims

DeKalb’s boy Scout Troop 33 collected dozens of bicycles during a drive in March. Fifty of the bicycles were reconditioned and delivered to Pass Christian, Miss. Others will be donated to Hope Haven in DeKalb. Provided photo

DeKALB - A team of Boy Scouts from DeKalb's Troop 33 will bike a 500-mile route this month to raise money for the residents of New Orleans still recovering from Hurricane Katrina. The route will take them from Memphis, Tenn., to New Orleans, La., and along the Gulf Coast. Their bicycling adventure will last from Thursday to June 25 and include seven to eight days of cycling. Each daily ride will range from 50 to 80 miles. The Scouts are currently seeking sponsors for the 500-mile ride. Proceeds will go to a fund to benefit the residents of New Orleans. This is not Troop 33's first hurricane relief effort. Days after Hurricane Katrina struck, Troop 33 began raising funds by sponsoring pancake breakfasts. In September the Scouts raised more than $2,500 to benefit the American Red Cross. They raised thousands more dollars in the months following. In December, Troop 33 sent 29 Scouts and leaders to work in Mississippi. In the devastated city of Pass Christian they delivered more than 3 tons of supplies including food, water, clothing, blankets, Christmas toys and more than 600 Bibles. Scouts helped cook more than 5,000 meals for victims and volunteers, and prepared a Christmas banquet for 300 homeless military family members at Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, Miss. The Scouts also worked to help establish a new animal rescue center for New Orleans. They donated $500 to Boy Scout Troop 316 of Pass Christian, and more than $1,500 to God's Katrina Kitchen. In April, Troop 33 sent 15 Scouts and leaders to work in Mississippi. They brought to the city of Pass Christian another 3 tons of supplies including food, water, clothing, supplies for infants, medicine, Easter baskets, books for the Pass Christian Public Library and 50 reconditioned bicycles. They helped cook more than 2,000 meals for victims and volunteers, and worked at a distribution center, serving more than 400 families. Also in April, Scouts took a load of pet supplies in a pickup truck to the ARNO animal rescue center in New Orleans, and worked to erect a quarantine station. They sanitized facilities, washed laundry, fed animals and even undertook an animal rescue mission. When local rescuers couldn't access puppies under abandoned houses, Scouts were able to squeeze through tight spaces to rescue two litters of puppies. One litter has been transported to TAILS Animal Shelter in DeKalb, where all but one of those puppies has been adopted. A second litter of puppies will soon be available for adoption at TAILS. The Scouts will present a check from this month's 500-mile ride to the American Library Association at its national convention in New Orleans, during the opening ceremony on June 24. The ALA has created a special fund for New Orleans hurricane relief, and the Scouts will be contributing the proceeds from their ride to that fund. The Scouts of Troop 33 invite the public to make a contribution to help residents of New Orleans. Hurricane Katrina was the worst natural disaster in U.S. history, and the Gulf Coast has not yet recovered. Thousands of people still suffer from Katrina's devastating aftermath. Anyone interested in donating money can make a check out to Troop 33 with &#8220Katrina” in the memo space. Send it to Troop 33, c/o Lynn Cook --treasurer, 512 S. Fifth St., DeKalb, IL 60115. Donations can be made as late as June 23. The total amount on that date will be relayed down to the team in Louisiana for the writing of the check. Troop 33 is sponsored by First Lutheran Church in DeKalb. The Scouts' Web site is

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