YONKERS, N.Y. A New Jersey man is on a two-wheeled crusade to put a roof over the heads of struggling families in New York and beyond.
Chuck Anania, owner of NJ Certified Roofing, was in Yonkers Tuesday on the final leg of his 500-mile bike trip across the tri-state area.
For the past two weeks, Anania has cycled an average of 35 miles a day, hoping to raise awareness for Roof 4 Roof, a program he started two years ago that repairs and replaces roofs on homes of people in need for free.
Just writing checks to charity was unfulfilling for me, he said Tuesday in a Yonkers coffee shop before he embarked on the final miles of his trip. I figured this was something I could do that was challenging but not impossible.
The 39-year-old New Jersey dad said Roof 4 Roof was inspired two years ago after visiting his wifes family in Columbia. Seeing an indescribable level of poverty, Anania said he wanted to help. A few weeks later, the idea for trading one paid roof for one free roof was born.
There are people living in shacks and tents, Anania said. It really bothered me.
The concept is simple. For every roof he builds on a paid job, Anania takes a portion of the profits and uses it to build a new roof or repair an existing one for someone in need. The project started in Columbia and has since expanded to Guatemala and New Jersey. Anania estimates he has replaced or repaired roofs for 100 needy families and has plans to soon expand the project to New York and Connecticut.
First, however, Anania said he wanted to raise awareness for his project and thus, the cycle ride began.
Despite not riding a bike in 20 years, Anania started his trek two weeks ago in Trenton, N.J. From there, he zigzagged his way through the Garden State, heading through Rockland and Orange counties, through Connecticut and down into Westchester.
Locally, Anania passed through Scarsdale, New Rochelle, Yonkers and Mount Vernon before heading through the Bronx on his way to Times Square, where he will finish his trip.
With just a few miles left on his trek, Anania said other than a small deer scare in New Jersey, the trip has been relatively smooth. Still, it will be nice when the grueling journey has come to an end, he said.
Im sore, he said. Every day was a new pain. So Im very happy its almost over.
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