TRAVERSE CITY — A community food drive was enough to get Michelle Chouinard and a team of Norte volunteers cranking.
After a year away attending to affairs related to her late father’s estate, Chouinard will be back Nov. 22 when Norte hosts its third annual Cranksgiving on Nov. 22. Billed as “part bicycle ride, part food drive” was enough for Chouinard to be all in.
“Norte is just really dear to our hearts,” said Chouinard, who once ran More Girls on Bikes with best friend and Cranksgiving team member, Erin Mars. “We always advocate for anything Norte stands for. Everything they do for the community, getting people active and off of their couches.
“Anything they do we try to get involved in.”
Cranksgiving, which began in New York in 1999 and Traverse City in 2018, is about giving as much as riding, which spoke to another side of Chouinard. Peter Haines and Chouinard have four children between them and Peter’s daughter, Adrianna Ryskamp, was of the inaugural Cranksgiving team.
“A food drive, especially having kids of our own, is a good example to show them about giving back during the holiday season,” Chouinard said. “We have everything we need. We have a roof, we have food, we have each other and that’s all we need.”
Cranksgiving features teams of bicyclists who purchase groceries and other household items from participating businesses.
Teams are suggested to spend a minimum of $25.
The teams (costumes are encouraged) ride to stores, purchase the items and return to the Norte Wheelhouse and donate them.
Food Rescue distributes the items donated by the riders to the Northwest Food Coalition pantries in Antrim, Benzie, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska and Leelanau counties.