Boonville Knights of Columbus hosts annual Autism Ride

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BOONVILLE - Mid-Missourians gathered in Boonville Saturday to raise money for MU's Thompson Center during the Knights of Columbus' 8th Annual Autism Ride.

Ride Coordinator Richard Kuster said the Knights of Columbus hosts the ride to benefit those in need.

"We're a charitable organization, and autism is a big thing now," Kuster said. "Many families don't have the funds needed to access some of these resources. So by doing this autism ride and donating this money, it helps some of the families that maybe aren't able to afford it."

Kuster personally cares about the cause, since he has been teaching for 14 years as a special education teacher in Columbia.

"I have several students throughout the years that have autism," Kuster said.

People could drive any type of vehicle during the Autism Ride. The event raised $2,677 last year, and Kuster said he is hopeful the proceeds this year will exceed that number to help MU's Thompson Center.

"We supply funds for social skills training, community outings, and now they have a scholarship program at MU that we're also helping out with," Kuster said.

65 people participated in the ride last year. Within an hour of the start of registration this year, Kuster said they had over 50 people.

"We're ahead of what we usually have, and I know several people that are still coming," he said.

After giving a donation, riders had the opportunity to win door prizes as well as participate in a silent auction and 50/50 raffle. Auction items were all donated.

Kuster said Knights of Columbus will host the event again next year at the end of March or beginning of April.