Bike Out Hunger 2014

430-mile Bike Out Hunger ride raises funds, awareness

BOERNE—Forty cyclists from across the state pedaled at least some portion of the way from Boerne to Wichita Falls—with stops in Fredericksburg, San Saba, Brownwood, Abilene and Graham—to raise awareness about poverty and raise money for the Texas Baptist Hunger Offering.

bikeout singleton300Gary Singleton, pastor of The Heights Baptist Church in Richardson, enjoys a downhill ride as part of Bike Out Hunger. (PHOTO/ Kalie Lowrie)The U.S. Census Bureau reports 4.8 million Texans—17.9 percent of the population—live in poverty. Participants in the fifth annual Bike Out Hunger ride spent a week biking 430 miles, raising about $50,000 for the hunger offering.

“Riding across Texas isn’t nearly as hard as not having food to eat,” said Christopher Whitehead from First Baptist Church in Waxahachie. “This is a great ride to be a part of. It’s fun meeting new people who have the same passion for cycling and helping others.”

Many churches provided support and meals throughout the trip, including Trinity Baptist in Kerrville, First Baptist in Fredericksburg, First Baptist in San Saba, First Baptist in Brownwood, First Baptist in Abilene and First Baptist in Wichita Falls.

Seven-year-old Gertie Kate Adair from Dripping Springs was the youngest rider, biking nine miles into Fredericksburg with her father, Ben Adair.

“Come ride with Bike Out Hunger and feed hungry people,” she said, as an encouragement to others to join the cause.

bikeout adairs425Seven-year-old Gertie Kate Adair of Dripping Springs rides along with her dad, Ben Adair, into Fredericksburg. (PHOTO/ Melissa Kibby)John Dennie, education director at North Side Baptist Church in Weatherford, joined Bike Out Hunger for the first time this year. He and fellow staff members Keith Warren, executive pastor, and Eddie Burg, building supervisor, wanted to join the ride to support hunger awareness.

Members of North Side Baptist Church became increasingly aware of hunger needs in their community as they began a weekend feeding program for children two years ago, Dennie explained. Initially, church volunteers prepared an average 20 “packs of love” with food for school-aged children who qualify for free or reduced-price lunches. Before long, they filled 140 backpacks with food each weekend.

“What concerns me is for some reason the poverty is increasing,” Dennie said. “I hope hunger needs will remain a focus for our church as we continue to reach out and help.”

bikeout randolph300Tim Randolph, director of missions for Waco Regional Baptist Association, rides with Bike Out Hunger.  (BGCT PHOTO)Since launching its backpack ministry, North Side has increasingly focused on hunger issues, not only in Weatherford, but also worldwide through gifts given to the Texas Baptist Hunger Offering. Last year, the church raised $29,000 on one day to give to the offering, and church leaders hoped to surpass that total in a Mother’s Day offering this year.

Rodney McGlothlin, pastor of First Baptist Church in Brownwood, and his wife, Debbie, joined the ride for a portion of the trek, along with Greg Church, a professor at Howard Payne University. At First Baptist in Brownwood, riders joined in a meal with members of the congregation and several children from a mission congregation.

After the meal, Tim Randolph, director of missions for Waco Regional Baptist Association, and other Bike Out Hunger participants told the group about passion for riding to end the cycle of hunger and poverty.

“While helping feed the kids this week, this fed my soul,” said Mark Bolt from Clear Creek Community Church in League City.

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