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Move over, poverty! Bikes coming through!

By Sister Margie Klein

“The wheels on the bikes go round and round, round and round, round and round!
The wheels on the bikes go round and round, pe-dal-ing past poverty!”

Sisters Mary Ann Kuhn and Joyce Kolbet at Pedal Past Poverty

The Mankato area, like so many others across our country, struggles with access to affordable housing for many of its lower income families. It takes the grit and creativity of some determined citizens to help communities with that struggle. Here in the Mankato area, Partners for Housing, (originally Partners for Affordable Housing) is blessed with a staff of individuals determined to impact the housing problems in this area. Their ministry is to help individuals and families find that secure and safe place called “home” where they can flourish and grow. School Sisters of Notre Dame (SSND) have been assisting them as board members, volunteers, and running their Free Store where those in need could gather the necessities to make a house a home and to make life more livable!

Partners for Housing holds one annual fundraiser each year, “Pedal Past Poverty.” Most years it’s been held indoors, but during Covid-19 it has been held in a parking garage with a “brisk breeze” keeping riders cooler than they wanted to be! This year, as in years past, SSND participated in the annual fundraiser, entering four teams that included both sisters and staff.

By 8 a.m. on February 25, the riders were gathering, teams were adjusting stationary bikes to the right height and tension, newbies were getting all kinds of advice for making the most of their 20-minute ride. Each team was made up of eight riders – one for each 20-minute heat of the day’s ride. Several sisters came from Benedictine Living Center in Shakopee, Minnesota, to Mankato to participate in the race and/or did some mighty fine fund raising to help the cause!

SSND participants at 2023 Pedal Past Poverty

The atmosphere of the event is always upbeat, fun and loud with music blaring and intermingled with a bit of competitive rivalry between teams or individuals. Donuts, coffee and other treats keep the spirits high as teams cheer on each rider and brag about how many miles they rode, how fast they rode or how much money they had in pledges.

SSND may not break any records for speed or for distance, but each year we take the top spot for most funds raised and for the individual who raised the most money… 2023 was no exception! Prior to the start of the day, we had raised over $17,000 and had a number of donations come in after the event. The generosity of so many really can make a difference in securing housing and addressing the concerns of those in need.

Thanks to everyone – riders, cheerleaders, donors, sponsoring companies, coffee makers, doughnut bakers and countless others -- yes, indeed, the wheels on the bikes went round and round, leaving poverty in the dust! Hmmm… I wonder when next year’s ride will be held. Anyone want to race?!?!


Want to learn more?


School Sisters of Notre Dame

320 East Ripa Avenue

St. Louis, MO 63125

Phone: 314-561-4100



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