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LI woman biking 4,000 miles to help Hempstead nonprofit

Sarah O'Connor, 22, of Malverne, and Joey Karp,

Sarah O'Connor, 22, of Malverne, and Joey Karp, 22, of Poughkeepsie, stand on the George Washington Bridge before beginning their cross-country bike ride on Sunday, June 25, 2017. Credit: John O’Connor

A Malverne woman will ride 4,000 miles across the country this summer to help a Hempstead nonprofit.

Sarah O’Connor, 22, began her 4,000-mile trek Sunday morning on the George Washington Bridge. She will be riding with her friend, Joey Karp, until they reach Los Angeles in early September, she said.

O’Connor, who has been modeling professionally since she was 14, has raised about $3,000 for the Interfaith Nutrition Network, a Hempstead-based nonprofit that operates soup kitchens, emergency shelters and long-term housing across Long Island, she said.

She has volunteered for the INN since her high school days at Sacred Heart Academy in Hempstead and is hoping to raise $25,000 for the organization, she said. She is asking for donations through an online fundraiser.

“I’m hoping to help this incredible organization that’s feeding and helping thousands of hungry and homeless each year,” O’Connor said.

The recent Adelphi University graduate decided to make the trip while modeling in Milan earlier this year.

“I wanted to do something else and make a positive change,” she said. “It had always been an idea of mine to bike to Los Angeles and at the same time to help this organization, it was like a win-win.”

Taking an indirect route cross-country, O’Connor and Karp, 22, of Poughkeepsie, are planning to ride between 70 and 100 miles a day, taking every eighth day off to rest. They will be spending most nights camping out in the tents and sleeping bags they have strapped to their backs, O’Connor said.

The pair will ride 50 miles Sunday until they reach Bridgewater, New Jersey. They will continue riding south until they reach Virginia. They will roll into Los Angeles along Route 66, O’Connor said.

Rob Kammerer, a volunteer who serves on the nonprofit’s board of directors, said he is grateful for O’Connor’s fundraising efforts.

“It’s impressive that someone that age would take a summer and dedicate it to helping others,” Kammerer said. “We at the INN are very, very grateful and wish her the best of luck.”

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