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It’s a beautiful thing when cycling, learning, and a drive to help others brings people together and gives rise to new opportunities. Ride On Foundation’s old friend SACS (Send A Child To School) organized a series of activities over 2014 and 2015, rallying volunteers and friends to help put together mochilas (backpacks) for children in underprivileged schools of Buenos Aires, and then distribute them just before the beginning of the new school year. Volunteers from Biking Buenos Aires participated in fundraising, assembling, and distributing the mochilas, and through these actions got to know Fundación Cielo, one of the beneficiary schools.

On a bright day on February 4th, SACS coordinators received volunteers at a community center in San Isidro, where they got busy sorting and organizing all the school items (textbooks, pens, pencils, and much more) into backpacks, assembly-line style, and organized not only by number but also by the recipient child’s name. Taking a break to share a hearty lunch of empanadas, the mood was light. “It was wonderful to see all these people getting together to do a good thing,” said Ben, one of the volunteers at the action day.

Fundación Cielo was one of the schools to receive backpacks on February 20th, just before classes began. Located in an impoverished neighborhood known as Ciudad Oculta (“Hidden City) in Villa Lugano on the edge Buenos Aires, Fundacion Cielo is a school run by Cielo herself which, besides offering extracurricular educational assistance to primary school children, also implements a soup kitchen to feed 209 children with 2 meals a day.

That day, after an exciting bike-and-train ride to the event site along with three fellow Biking Buenos Aires aficionados, I was lucky enough to join a group of about 20 volunteers to help distribute just over 200 backpacks, to each child individually whose parents had signed up for the program the previous school year. All of us had been welcomed with open arms to the community and the school itself, and the warmth and smiles of everyone present, kids and adults alike, highlighted the philanthropic significance of the event.

To find out more about the story of the impoverished neighborhood of Ciudad Oculta, or “Hidden City”, check out this documentary. If you’d like to donate to either SACS or Fundación Cielo, please write us an email at info@bikingbuenosaires.com for more information. SACS is also organizing a very exciting fundraising event, “Casino Royale” on April 23rd – please check out the featured link or ask us if you’d like to participate!

Featured links

SACS: http://sacsbuenosaires.com/ 

Ciudad Oculta, Elefante Blanco documentary: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ae-iQa6dOBQ

Fundación Cielo: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Fundaci%C3%B3n-Cielo-Solidaridad-Comunitaria/323843834332993

Upcoming SACS Fundraising event April 32rd 2015, Casino Royale: http://sacsbuenosaires.com/2015/03/18/casino-royale-at-the-palacio-sans-souci-thursday-april-23/

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