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Family fights food insecurity – on two wheels

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Bicycle tour across Canada raises funds for global hunger

From left to right: Raquel Enns, Caleb Enns, Paul Hagerman (director of public policy at the Foodgrains Bank), Nathan Schmidt, Orlando Schmidt, Siggi Holzhaeuer (senior program officer at the Foodgrains Bank), Michelle Janzen (James’ wife) and James Kornelsen (public engagement coordinator at the Foodgrains Bank).

“It’s about family,” says Orlando Schmidt. A member of The Life Centre, Abbotsford, B.C., he has been planning to bike across Canada with his children for more than a decade. This 2019 “End Global Hunger Tour” extends the family to include the whole world with a goal of raising $10 for Canadian Foodgrains Bank for each kilometer of their 6,000-km journey across Canada.

Biking across Canada from June to August are Schmidt; his wife Vivian driving the support motorhome; daughter Raquel and her husband Caleb Enns who became part of the project with marriage into the family less than a year ago; son Jayden whose wife Kaitlyn worked in the support vehicle for the first three weeks until the couple returned home to other commitments; and son Nathan.

Church family support

Even though they’ve been part of it for less than a year, Orlando and Vivain’s care group at The Life Centre is also participating in the trip through encouragement and prayer. “They’re really excited for us,” says Vivian. One member sent Vivian an e-book to listen to as she drives the support vehicle.

The most difficult part of the trip was arranging the logistics beforehand, says Schmidt at his stop in Winnipeg July 2, 2019, having already led the family through the Rocky Mountains. Arranging time off work and preparing all the details was hard work.

“The first week of the journey was our training,” says Nathan. Practice rides at home, the longest being 83 km, under-paced their tour record of 150 km in a day by almost half.

Caring for hungry people

A specialist in agriculture who served with MCC in Brazil 20 years ago, Orlando says it made sense to choose the Foodgrains Bank as the beneficiary of the ride’s funds. Canadian Foodgrains Bank is a partnership of 15 Canadian churches and church-based agencies working together to end global hunger by supporting international programs, influencing improvements in policies that contribute to ending global hunger; and increasing the engagement of Canadians to end global hunger.

The Schmidts share about CFGB’s work to end global hunger when asked and have connected with some pastors and growing projects along the way, including a public dinner event in Niverville, July 4, 2019.

They have an appointment in Ottawa with an MP to drop off “I Care” cards, calling for Canada to meet its international aid commitments.

Growing family and friends

The ride has given the Schmidts opportunity to practice relationship. (Keeping good spirits with 7–9 people in a motorhome, and 1400-metre climbs are on Caleb’s list of hardest things on the journey). Two young men from Quebec joined the family for two days, biking together, camping together, and sharing meals. The hungry cyclists eagerly accepted breakfast with eggs and real milk, then reciprocated by making poutine to share with the Schmidts in celebration of Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day, a Quebecois holiday.

Seeing the beauty and diversity of Canada’s natural environment inspires Orlando, but family has been the greatest joy of his time. His daughter persevered despite an old knee injury; “we’ve supported her as a family…. Now she’s the one leading us up [the steepest hills].” It is a joy for Orlando to see her blossom in confidence on this family trip before she leaves for mission work with her husband overseas.


The Schmidts will meet with Foodgrains Bank supporters at the Niverville Heritage Centre at 6 p.m. on Thursday, July 4, 2019. Anyone interested in learning more about the family’s journey or about global hunger is invited to attend.
To follow along with their progress, visit www.foodgrainsbank.ca/cycling

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