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Munsch a Bunch: chapter three

Karen McKinley

The third chapter of Munsch a Bunch of Miles for Literacy ended on a high note with seven days of riding across the prairies, nine schools and $12,000 raised for Camrose Adult Read and Write.

The ride started in Winnipeg, Sept. 5 and ended at Ecole Sifton School, Sept. 12. While on the road, the trio of Helen and David Samm and Alan Ford stopped at schools in Winnipeg, Birtle, Foam Lake, Colonsay, North Battleford and Vermilion before heading home.

Munsch a Bunch of Miles started three years ago with a passion shared by three people to promote literacy across Canada.

They called Robert Munsch, one of Canada's most famous children's literature authors to help their cause.

"We called him and asked if we could use his name for this campaign," said Helen Samm. "He agreed and sent us a few autographed books to leave at the schools we visited. It became part of the tour to read his books to the school and leave an autographed copy with them."

The idea of riding from a location and returning to Camrose was Alan's. The goal is to cover all of Canada eventually, without cycling straight across the country in one trip.

During the tour, the cyclists take turns riding on the road. David Samm said that this year's ride was harder than last year's.

"We were in B.C. in 2007, and while there were a lot of uphill runs, we took comfort in knowing there was a downhill coming," he stated. "The highways in Manitoba don't have shoulders to bike on. The prairie wind was also relentless for most of the tour. I'd say this was one of our harder tours."

This is the second time Munsch a Bunch of Miles has gone from Manitoba to Camrose.

What keeps them going is the passion to teach others the importance of literacy. David said that whenever they visit a school, the children are always excited because they know they are bringing a Robert Munsch book with them. To have a celebrity helping them really makes a difference in the response.

Plans for next year are in the preliminary stages. Helen said that they weren't sure where they were going next and may not know until January. They were considering Nova Scotia or starting in northern Alberta and going south.

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