Tyler cyclists participate in cross-state ride to help hungry - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Tyler cyclists participate in cross-state ride to help hungry

TYLER, TX  - With the road beneath them, a passion in their hearts and their sights set on ending hunger in Texas, a team of Tyler-area residents will join roughly 30 people from across Texas as they ride from Beaumont to Texarkana May 9-14 in an effort to raise awareness about hunger needs and funds to meet those needs.

The ride, called Bike Out Hunger, is led by the Baptist General Convention of Texas and sponsored by Buckner International, East Texas Baptist University in Marshall, Plano Cycling and Fitness in Plano and Enterprise Rent-A-Car. It features an all-amateur team of riders from locations such as Tyler, Whitehouse, Houston, Plano, Gatesville, Levelland, Eustace, Dallas, Austin, Fort Worth and Waco.

The team will into Tyler May 11. There will be a gathering at 5:00 p.m. at Green Acres Baptist Church for them that night. The next day they will ride on to Marshall through Longview. Eight of the riders are from the Tyler area.

Though many of the riders are experienced, a sizable portion of them have never attempted a ride anywhere near this magnitude. All of them are driven by one goal: reminding people of the vast hunger needs throughout the state and around the world and playing a role in solving that issue, said Rand Jenkins, who leads the effort.

"While all of us enjoy cycling, that's not the point of Bike Out Hunger," Jenkins said. "The point and the goal is to raise awareness of the hunger issues facing our neighbors. It's about informing people on how to help and how to give financially to meet those needs."

Riders will bike more than 400 miles across the state, capping off the adventure with a ride in Texarkana of roughly 50 miles. Individuals and churches are sponsoring each rider, some choosing to donate money for each mile a person rides while other supporters have given a flat rate. The team of volunteers also will have opportunities through the week to share what they are doing and why.

All the money donated will support hundreds of food and development projects around the globe through the Texas Baptist Offering for World Hunger.

The repetitive nature of cycling – pumping one's legs in a circular motion over and over again – is a constant reminder of the plight of the hungry, many of who feel trapped in poverty despite their best efforts to get out of it.

"Most everyone knows that there are hungry families in Texas and in our world. We've even seen the ads on TV encouraging us to give. However, what many of us do not know is how to help break the cycle of hunger and poverty. If the head of the household earns around minimum wage, they are most likely below the poverty line, which makes it increasingly difficult to have regular access to nutritious food. Food Banks offer inexpensive meals but they need help in distribution. Churches and organizations can get involved in the distribution," Jenkins said.

"Also, one of the greatest aspects of the Texas Baptist Offering for World Hunger is that it funds education and training for people to create a sustainable food source and/or informs people of places and opportunities to purchase discounted food making it easier to feed their family."

Roughly 1.3 million Texans are food insecure, meaning they do not know where their next meal will come from. It has the third highest rate of food insecurity in the nation, and children are particularly vulnerable. Texas leads the nation in childhood food insecurity.

In recent years, Texas Baptists have stepped up efforts to feed the hungry. When the recession hit, more people became food insecure, and Texas Baptists attempted to meet their needs. They gave a record of more than $900,000 to help the hungry through the Texas Baptist Offering for World Hunger in 2009. Through the Texas Hunger Initiative, churches have launched summer feeding programs for students who otherwise would have nothing to eat.

This is the second Bike Out Hunger ride and the first through East Texas. Last year, the ride logged more than 450 miles from Ballinger to San Antonio via Waco and raised more than $20,000. Organizers expect to at least double that this year.

"To help feed hungry people, please get involved," Jenkins said. "Right now, I'm asking you to get involved either by riding or by giving at BikeOutHunger.org. This summer, I'm asking you to get involved in your local community through your church or organization to feed kids who are out of school and away from access to regular meals. To find out how, call 888-244-9400."

Powered by Frankly