FREDERICKSBURG – When Rand Jenkins, director of Out Hunger, planned the 2015 Bike Out Hunger – Texas route almost a year ago, he could not have foreseen all the difficulties the riders would have to overcome on the first day. Between wet roads, dodging thunderstorms and an array of bicycle mishaps, the cyclists rode into Fredericksburg after their 76-mile ride with smiling faces, joyous spirits and contagious laughter.
At dinner, provided by First Baptist Church of Fredericksburg, Rand encouraged the riders to keep going because they can.
“Even after 76 miles,” Rand said, “I’m still able to keep going because I know I’ll have a meal waiting for me. There are so many others who don’t have a meal waiting for them after a long day at work or school.”
This year, both Tim Randolph – a third year veteran of Bike Out Hunger – and his son Joel – a cyclist and OR nurse in Denver, and a first timer to BOH – are riding to not only fundraise, but also raise awareness for hunger.
Tim and Joel faced their share of challenges on Monday. Within the first 22 miles, Tim had a broken spoke and Joel’s seat was broken, forcing him to ride several miles with his kneesin his chest. At the first stretch break, the Randolphs loaded in a SAG wagon and headed to a local bike shop for repairs, but the inconveniences did not deter them from finishing the day strong.
Tim serves as the Director of Mission for the Waco Regional Baptist Association and strongly believes hunger is a growing issue, which needs to be addressed.
“Those of us who ‘have’ really can’t understand what it is to not ‘have,’” stated Tim. “Over thirty percent of people are below the poverty line in the Greater Waco area. Instead of making broad statements like, ‘We are going to eradicate hunger in Waco,’ we instead ask, ‘Who is our neighbor and how can we respond to their needs?’”
The Waco Regional Baptist Association receives several grants from the Texas Baptist Hunger Offering, and has seen great success through the partnership to help food insecure families in their region.
One of the grants they received provided the opportunity for WRBA to hire a Senior Outreach Coordinator who works through the Waco area churches to identify food insecure senior adults. More than 30,000 senior adults are identified as food insecure in the area, many of which have never asked for assistance and do not know the first place to turn for help. On a case-by-case basis, the Association is now able to work with local churches and connect senior adults who are in need of assistance with local food resources.
Another Hunger Offering grant allowed the WRBA to serve a local apartment complex in the summer months. The Association was able to hire a Food Coordinator from one of the schools to not only bring on-site lunches to the families, but also coordinated with local churches and a local non-profit to have activities for the children including tutoring and nutrition classes for the mothers.
“Through this effort, we not only saw huge success with the children and their grades, but this apartment complex created a community,” said Tim. “The families can also rely on each other to watch each others children in times of need.”
Joel Randolph also believes Bike Out Hunger is a worthy cause. He’s seen how much his dad cares about this initiative so he put BOH – Texas on his bucket list three years ago oncehis dad joined. It’s a privilege for the two to ride together across the state for such a great cause.
“Despite the difficulties, and the setbacks, this gives me a sense of adventure. I get to see things I have seen before, and see them with my dad.”
As the riders prepare for another day of potential weather difficulties and unforeseen flat tires and bumpy roads, they are united in their desire to pedal on to see an increased awareness for those less fortunate.