GOING ALL-OUT AT THE “WHOLE HOG PIG ROAST” BENEFITTING HOUSING WORKS
He is on a ride for other people’s lives.
For the second year Asbury Park resident Rich Biletta will host the Whole Hog Pig Roast in his Fifth Avenue backyard to raise mission-critical funds for Housing Works, a New York City-based charity. The roast, open to the public, is the precursor for Biletta’s participation in the 300 mile Braking AIDS Ride in late September.
I spoke with Biletta about plans for the roast as well as the ride.
TBP: I hear that in 2012, through your individual fundraising and the pig roast you raised $25,000 for Housing Works. How did all this come together?
Biletta: The Whole Hog Pig Roast came to life last year through a casual conversation between fellow Braking AIDS rider Courtney Maier-Brubela and I. Courtney mentioned that she and her husband Pete wanted to do a pig roast fundraiser. The rest is history. With the help of Courtney, Pit Master Pete Brubela and Alan Barnett, we set the date, roasted a pig and raised nearly $8,000 in one day.
Everyone reading this is welcome to come to the roast at my house on Fifth Avenue, Sept. 7. You can expect the best-tasting roasted pig that you have ever had and all the trimmings that go with it. There will also be plenty of beer, banana pudding, friends and fun.
TBP: That would be your “famous” banana pudding. What is it like riding a bike from Boston to New York City?
Biletta: It is challenging and tough. There are hills – rolling hills, steep hills, and more hills. I try to devote at least one day out of every weekend during the spring and summer to ride and prepare for the 300 mile ride. Monmouth County has some great riding especially in the northern part of the county and the Highlands. Oh, and spin classes throughout the year.
As I rode last year I never stopped thinking of the people I was riding for and how they are challenged every second of their lives living with HIV/AIDS. That was my motivation – and I rode every mile.
The ride is a community and it has a large following of genuine, caring people many of whom have participated for over a decade. I am happy to call them “friends.”
TBP: With so many worthy charities and terrific city-to-city bike rides, why Housing Works?
Biletta: Many people are familiar with the thrift and book stores that Housing Works runs to support its mission in New York City but the organization is much more than the stores. The organization is a healing group of people supporting those living with and affected by HIV/AIDS. Housing Works’ mission is to end the dual crises of homelessness and AIDS through advocacy and the provision of lifesaving services.
Since it began, more than 20,000 homeless and low-income New Yorkers living with HIV/AIDS have been helped. I am proud to devote so much time and energy to support Housing Works.
Whole Hog Pig Roast benefitting Housing Works: Sat. Sept. 7, 3 pm. Tickets $40 in advance, $50 door. 1007 Fifth Avenue, Asbury Park, 07712. More at: www.wholehogpigroast.eventbrite.com. If you cannot make the roast but want to support Biletta in his uber-worthy endeavor, click here to donate.