Compassion's Foundation

Pedals for Compassion is a bicycle tour that will be held in Magnolia and Columbia County on Saturday.

It’s almost time for the second Pedals for Compassion bicycle tour to benefit Compassion’s Foundation’s Domestic Violence Shelter.

This year’s event begins at 7:30 a.m. Saturday at the Square Park on 117 North Jefferson, in front of Square Park.

Last year’s event raised money for 37 victims and included 100 riders. This year’s race has 100 riders already registered for a variety of rides based on skill level. Options for the ride include tours of 15, 35, 62 and 100 miles.

Margaret West, former CEO of Magnolia Regional Medical Center, and head of the Compassion’s Foundation board. said the dollars raised this weekend are essential to the number of lives the agency can help change for the better.

“If it wasn’t for donations and fundraisers, we wouldn’t exist,” West said. “Federal grants wouldn’t cover so many needs we have.”

Shelter Manager Lacey Ogle said over the years, those at the shelter have seen many clients come in with hardly anything but the clothes on their backs; emotionally torn down, physically battered, and mentally exhausted.

“It is our goal here at Compassion’s to help our clients put their past behind them and move forward with a new life without Domestic abuse,” Ogle said. “Statistically it takes the victim 7 times to successfully leave their abuser therefore we have some clients that return to their abuser but others who have also triumphantly broken the cycle.”

Ogle said at Compassion’s Foundation Domestic Violence Shelter, those who come in need of help are called clients, not victims. She said that is because they have been victimized but have also survived the chaos they were put through.

One example of a success story from the shelter is how a woman called “Susie” came for help mentally worn down and with only a few possessions. After a few days of rest and recuperation, plans were made to assist her in job searching. She soon scored an excellent job and soon got her own place where she discovered a new kind of lifestyle.

“She loved the peace and tranquility unlike she ever knew before,” Ogle said. “She later decided to relocate for a chance to move up even higher in pay scale which she did just that. She is now a strong independent woman who does not take nothing off anyone. We could not be more proud of her.”

Another example of a success story was the shelter was able to assist “Jane” a domestic violence survivor who wanted to start over in a new city due to the location of her abuser and needing help with addiction. She stayed at the shelter for a little while before moving onto rehabilitation.

“After completing rehab, she obtained a great job, she gained her independence and she got that much needed boost in self-confidence,” Ogle said. “She blossomed into a positive role model for other Domestic Violence survivors and she is passionate about helping others speak out against Domestic Abuse today.”

Ogle said there are many other success stories that the shelter has and the upcoming Pedals for Compassion is a part in helping them start over because it is a process that has to involve them regaining their strength and rebuilding their lives.

“We want to thank all of our participants and sponsors for the support of the second annual Pedals for Compassion’s bike ride which is this Saturday,” Ogle said. “We do hope everyone can come out and support your local domestic violence shelter. Our shelter hotline is 870-235-1414.

“If you know someone who needs help or if you yourself needs help do not hesitate to call us. The hotline is completely confidential and there will be a Domestic Violence advocate on duty 24/7 to answer your call. Thank you everyone for the continued support over the years. With the community’s involvement we can break the cycle,” she said.

The ride will have to take into consideration COVID-19 precautions such as volunteers wearing masks at the sign up table and the rest stops, hand sanitizer being provided at each of the stops and finish line, and fruit and other home baked goods wrapped individually rather than being served on platters at rest stops, she said. Whatever guidelines they follow much be submitted to state secretary of health, said Lesley Thompson, director of Pedals for Compassion.

West said each rest stop will have a different theme where riders can enjoy a variety of snacks and refreshments for the long ride ahead. There will be one rest stop with volunteers dressed as the Village People and another with a Tiki Bar theme. Among things that will be offered to bikers will be pickle juice which helps them battle leg cramps.

Another option for a ride is the family ride that begins at 10 a.m. and goes from Square Park to the Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church on Jackson next door to Mule Kick. This round trip is only about four miles.

The longer routes will migrate toward Logoly State Park where the first rest stop is located. There, the short routes come back to Southern Arkansas University on County Road 13, she said.

All other rides will progress on Arkansas 98 and take that route 35 miles to the Old El Dorado highway and come back to the square.

The two longest rides will continue a tour of the county and go to Emerson and almost Walkersville before coming back to Magnolia.

Registration for the event is $55 per rider for all rides except the family ride which is $35. On the day of the event, registration for all rides goes up to $65 except for the family. The registration includes swag bags filled with koozies, chap stick, and a T-shirt.

Tuesday Knights is the band that will perform and if someone just wants to come and be a spectator for the event, those tickets are $10. Food will be provided by Postmaster Grill. The event will go until 3 or 4 p.m.

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