Last weekend marked the 10th anniversary of the Moveable Feast fundraiser Ride for the Feast. The event is a two-day, 140-mile bike ride throughout the state of Maryland beginning in Ocean City and ending in Baltimore City.
Moveable Feast is a non-profit organization that provides free nutritious meals to people living with HIV/AIDS or breast cancer. Its staff and volunteers deliver meals to clients and their families in Baltimore City, the five counties surrounding the city and all the counties on the Eastern Shore.
Similar to Food and Friends in D.C., the organization is also the beneficiary of the funds raised by Dining Out for Life events in the Baltimore area.
In recent years, Moveable Feast has expanded its services to better assist clients as well as to face new challenges in the community.
On top of providing meals and nutritional counseling, it offers a transportation service for clients to attend medical appointments. Because of the amount of clients that are housed in shelters, its staff and volunteers also began supplying hot meals, seven days a week to local shelters.
In addition to the provisions that come from their kitchen, Moveable Feast offers a 12-week culinary training program that teaches former clients and other individuals the skills they need to work in the food industry.
In 2011, Moveable Feast delivered 534,527 meals to 924 clients, as well as 204,596 meals to drop-in centers of affiliated organizations, feeding an additional 1,035 people.
For its transportation program, staff and volunteers drove in excess of 30,000 miles over the course of last year, transporting clients and the homeless to their appointments. The culinary program boasted an 84 percent graduation record and 21 of the 27 students procured jobs by graduation.
The Ride for the Feast itself has become the organization’s largest fundraising program. This year, with close to 200 riders participating, more than $425,000 was raised with 100 percent of the proceeds going directly to client services.
During the two months leading up to the ride, team members’ host outdoor training rides several times per week. As the ride gets closer, the multiple location training rides become longer and almost daily. In D.C., team members were utilizing Rock Creek Park, the Mount Vernon Trail and the Capital Crescent Trail.
The first day of the ride is a 105-mile trek from Ocean City to Chesapeake College in Wye Mills, Md., where the riders are housed in the gym or shuttled to nearby hotels.
The second day of the ride is a less daunting 40-mile ride ending in much fanfare through the streets of downtown Baltimore.
One of the founders of Ride for the Feast is D.C. resident David Andrews who has participated in all 10 rides. The idea came to Andrews after he participated in the D.C. AIDSRide in the 1990s.
“Participating in the event is a great reason to train and raise money for a worthy cause,” says Andrews, who actually ran five miles the day after the two-day ride.
There are also feel-good stories that emerge each year. According to Andrews, one rider told a stranger about the event and was handed a check for $11,000.
Several years ago another rider, Misty Letts was hit by a car while cycling to work. She used the ride as one of her inspirations to get back on the bike. This year marks her third time participating in the event and she is once again cycling to work.
“Adding a team aspect several years ago has brought a new dimension to the event,” Andrews says. “Along with the individuals, teams can come together and train, ride and do their fundraising as a unit.”
It’s never too soon to start thinking about next year’s ride. More information on the event is at mfeast.org.