By Taipei News Team, Formosa (Originally in Chinese)
On October 22, Golden Year 13 (2016), the Social Affairs Department of the New Taipei City Government and the New Taipei City Volunteer Association joined with several public interest groups, such as the Cycling New Culture Foundation and The Supreme Master Ching Hai International Association, to hold a children’s outdoor biking event with the theme “Soaring Against Headwinds and Flying Upward in Life” in Sunshine Sports Park in HsinDian. Children from at-risk and disadvantaged families in New Taipei City were encouraged to participate in the challenge “One Day Double Taipei,” a 50-kilometer bike ride on a bike lane connecting New Taipei City and Taipei City, with the purpose of improving their physical and mental health.
More than 300 children from at-risk and vulnerable families who have been receiving long-term assistance from New Taipei City Government, Social Welfare Department gathered at the venue after 8 am. Mr. Lin Kun-Zong, the Commissioner of the New Taipei City Social Welfare Department gave a speech, encouraging children to challenge themselves and dare to dream. After that, the coach highlighted the biking safety precautions and riding instructions. Then the children were led to warm-up and start riding by artist Mr. Shiou Chieh-Kai, the 2016 “warmhearted male idol” voted by the network media.
Our Association provided 200 portions of vegan food to the guests, the patrolmen and the children, including vegan hot dogs, veggie tempura, soymilk tea, veggie salad, and purple rice cakes. New Taipei City Volunteer Association Chairman Mr. Lu Li-Min and Director Ms. Huang Mei-Ying came to our booth to thank our members for the enthusiastic support and caring services.
Fifty kilometers is a big challenge for children. Under the hot sun, it was important for them to have enough water and food. For the youngsters’ convenience, our Taipei members specially made vegan kebabs with hot dogs, tempura and purple rice cakes on skewers. Many children picked up a vegan kebab and a cup of soymilk and sat on the floor to have a picnic on the spot. Between the blue sky and the green grass, the children’s laughter filled the air. It was like a paradise. We were reminded of Master’s words: “Bring noble happiness to other people. That will bring noble happiness to you, too.”
At the closing ceremony, the Secretary-General of New Taipei City Municipal Government Mr. Xu Yu-Ning presented a “Flying Upward in Life” medal to every child who had finished the ride. The Director of Social Welfare Department of New Taipei Municipal Government Ms. Chang Chin-Li and the Chairman of New Taipei Volunteer Association Mr. Lu Li-Min took photos with our Association members. Director Ms. Chang shook hands with each one of us to express her gratitude.
We thanked God for giving us a beautiful day with blue skies after days of rainfall. Our Association members were very happy for the chance to enjoy the green grass, embrace nature and serve the community as well. It was a meaningful experience.