YORK, Pa. (WHTM) — On Monday, Bill Swartz, of York, dipped his front tire into the Pacific Ocean in San Diego, California, finalizing a roughly 3,800-mile trip that he traveled on his bicycle.
Swartz took on the journey to raise money for Bell Socialization, which runs the family homeless shelter in York. He has raised $20,000 so far and continues to raise money even after he completed his trip. Bell’s family shelter is forced to turn away 50-100 families per month in the winter due to lack of space, so Swartz hopes to help the facility grow.
“I am just feeling so grateful to have reached the Pacific Ocean,” Swartz said. “It was a huge challenge, but certainly not near as challenging as some of the people at Bell shelter go through, and I thought of them a lot throughout the trip.
Swartz was once a caseworker at Bell Family Shelter, so raising money for the group was an easy choice.
“I learned recently that Bell had to turn away many families each month, and it was really sad to me that they didn’t have the resources that they needed,” Swartz said. “So I decided to do this journey to raise funds for them, and it became more than just a way to raise funds, it also became a way to raise awareness.”
“The money Bill raised is such a blessing to us, and we will use it to continue to support the operations,” Tony Schweitzer, Executive Director for Bell Socialization, said. “Seeing what has come out of his idea is inspiring for everyone who works in the field every day, knowing that there are people out there who are trying to help.”
He started out in Stone Harbor, New Jersey, and pedaled his way through 16 states along the way. His journey began in October of 2020.
He posted the final check-in on his Facebook page, where he shared stories of some of the experiences he made along the way.
Swartz met his girlfriend in California at the end of his trip, and they’re spending a few days of rest and relaxation before flying back home.
“It’s been really neat to camp most of the trip, but it will definitely be wonderful to sleep in my own bed again,” Swartz said.
Swartz is getting ready to pursue a master’s degree at Lancaster Theological Seminary and hopes to be able to help the community even more after he finishes. He even has his sights set on another cross-country bike trip in the future.