For the past six years, volunteers across Canada have participated in the Ride for Refuge on behalf of The Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF). The ride is organized by Blue Sea Foundation and takes place in several cities across the country. Thousands of people come out to cycle or walk for their preferred charity every fall.
In the Diocese of Toronto, PWRDF pedallers have been among hundreds of cyclists and walkers who have descended upon Ashbridges Bay Park in Toronto. The event is a key fundraiser for PWRDF, bringing in about $30,000 a year for a designated partner. PWRDF supports vulnerable communities in Canada and around the world on behalf of Anglicans in Canada.
But this year, COVID-19 skidded into the Ride for Refuge. Rather than apply the brakes, Blue Sea is riding on, just in a slightly different direction. A new “freestyle” category has been created that is limited only by your imagination. Participants can still ride or walk for refuge on Oct. 3 (though not at a designated time and place) but they are also welcome to paddle, knit, climb, bake, read, or do anything they can think of for refuge.
Participants can register on the Ride for Refuge website (rideforrefuge. org/pwrdf) in the same way as before. You can join a team, start a team or register as an individual.
One such individual is Archbishop Linda Nicholls, the Primate, who has pledged to sing hymns for refuge. As a choral enthusiast, Archbishop Nicholls thought this would be a fun and engaging way to get involved. When giving to her, donors can make a request to hear a specific hymn. She performed on Facebook Live on July 26 and will do so again on Sept. 20 at 7 p.m.
This year’s participants will be raising funds for St. Jude Family Projects in Masaka, Uganda. St. Jude’s is an agricultural school that strives to improve the quality of life in the surrounding community by ending hunger and empowering women, children and youth. As people learn more about how to grow their own nutritious food, they are able to feed their families, earn an income, send their children to school and become stronger and more selfsufficient. The school also teaches permaculture to people from other parts of Africa and the world. The fundraising goal is $25,000.
St. Jude’s co-founder, Josephine Kizza Aliddeki, and her son Daniel, an agronomist, recently participated in a webinar for PWRDF volunteers interested in joining this year’s event. “We are so grateful to be able to connect with people who are enthusiastic about transforming communities that are less privileged,” she said prior to joining the Zoom call.
If you would like to support PWRDF and participate in the Ride for Refuge, visit rideforrefuge.org/pwrdf for details on how to sign up and for inspiration on how to ride “freestyle.”