Next month, thousands of bikers in Canada and the U.S. will be riding to raise money for refugees. The event, called Ride for Refuge, takes place in more than a dozen locations in the two countries (and at least one location in Australia), and will raise money to assist refugees and others in need of refuge both locally and overseas. The proceeds will be distributed to more than 200 churches and charities.
The Ride was begun in 2004 by members of International Teams Canada, a Christian missionary group, and has thus far raised over $1.5 million. This year, they hope to have 7,000 riders and raise an additional $1.5 million.
The Ride for Refuge is not the only Christian organization riding to help refugees. The South West Times reports that on October 3rd, parishioners from the First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Liberal, Kansas will be traveling 900+ miles to Texas to deliver goods and money to refugees there (though it does not appear they will covering the 900 miles by bike!). The fund raiser was begun in 1979 by Feliberto Pereira, a Cuban refugee who wanted to help others in his predicament. According to the South West Times, this will be the last year for the refugee ride, which ends at the Southwest Good Samaritan Ministries, a refugee center located near the Mexican border.
The fund raising by these groups (and other religious charities) recalls Matthew 25: Jesus said, “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.” Then the righteous [people asked] him, “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?” Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.”
In an age of increasing anger and xenophobia, it’s nice to see people who take the gospel seriously and who walk the walk. And pedal the bike.