Bike ride fundraiser held for Outreach for Hope

Outreach for Hope holds a family bike ride to raise money. Photo courtesy of Barbara Hammer.

The fourth annual Outreach for Hope Family Bike Ride took place Saturday to help raise proceeds to benefit Outreach for Hope Ministries.

Outreach for Hope works in correlation with the Greater Milwaukee Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in an attempt to help ministries serve the poor.

This year the fundraiser raised approximately $21,000 according to Nic Bur, the fundraising chair for the event.

“The money raised will be matched by several organizations,” Bur said. “We raised $60,000 last year and have a current total of $42,000 if you include the matched donations. We are well on our way to passing last year’s donations.”

The donations will go to 22 churches and ministries working in communities of poverty in southeastern Wisconsin.  Those 22 churches are primarily in Milwaukee but extend to Racine and Kenosha.

Rev. Jim Bickel, executive director of Outreach for Hope, said each of the 22 churches receives a certain amount of money based on a grant form they submitted to the organization.

“The goal is to help people in poverty,” Bickel said.  “We want churches to be an anchor and people to know there is a partnership between the people, community and churches.”

Churches and ministries who receive donations are ones who have a long-term plan.

Bickel explained the decision process is based on how much money the church or ministry has received in the past and what type of program they are trying to instill, as well as how much money they receive from other organizations.

“Our motto is ‘We walk with people of poverty,’ and we try to do that each and everyday,” Bickel said.  “Donations are just one way that we help others—we encourage people from other churches in the synod to help Outreach for Hope churches.”

With nearly 200 volunteers and bikers, the event kicked off at 8:30 a.m. with a road trail for the more serious bikers, and at 9:30 a.m. with a trail ride for families and the more leisurely riders.  The fundraiser took place at Cory Park in Dousman, Wis. There was also a picnic following the ride for those who have benefitted from Outreach for Hope.

“It is good to have people from the churches there to provide personal testimony and explain how Outreach has helped them,” Bur said.

One church Bickel mentioned was Cross Lutheran Church, located at 1821 N. 16th St.

“This church has the Bread of Healing Clinic where medical and dental care is provided to those who need it in the community,” Bickel said.  “These are the kinds of programs we aspire to keep going.”

In addition to the Bread of Healing Clinic, Cross Lutheran Church serves a meal on Wednesdays with a worship service. Over 100 people usually attend, Bickel said.

The Outreach for Hope Family Bike Ride occurs every year on the first Saturday after Labor Day.  Outreach accepts donations year round, but any donations received until the end of the month will be matched by surrounding businesses such as Thrivent Financial.