MISSOULA – People of all ages enjoyed 10 mile and two mile bike rides on Saturday to raise money for the Watson Children’s Shelter.
The shelter is a local nonprofit that temporarily houses abused and neglected children and executive director Mike Boehm said half the shelter’s budget comes from fundraisers.
“If it wasn’t for the Missoula community and all of these great sponsors and people showing up today, we wouldn’t be here a year from now, so it’s just amazing that we’re able to do that.”
Major fundraisers like the Bike For Shelter raise 10% of that annual funding and for the first time ever, the event was free to the public, with the help of additional sponsors.
Development Director Angie Doucette said they wanted to make sure every family in Missoula could participate.
“To be able to support families and children and give them a fun family event just really means a lot to all of us.”
The shelter also helps kids take swimming and fishing lessons, go camping, and go to the movies. Boehm says safety and security is their number one priority.
“Beyond that, we really strive to try to give children in our care all of the things any child would want and deserve to have.”
This year’s bike for shelter had 50 sponsors and 150 volunteers.
Watson Children’s Shelter has been a top-rated nonprofit since 2013. It also recently won a nonprofit of the year award from the Montana Children’s Trust Fund-for implementing a new home visit program.