Hunger Rumblings will periodically highlight the work of organizations that received financial support through an ELCA Hunger Education/Advocacy grant in 2008. We hope you are as inspired by these stories of our faith in action as we have been!

Tour de Revs – 100 Days for Hunger and Wellness
2008 ELCA World Hunger Education Grant Recipient

The 2008 ELCA Hunger Education/Advocacy grant was used to plan for the 2009 Tour de Revs Bicycle Ride, and to create a promotional DVD and other printed materials. From May 13 – August 20, three ELCA pastors from the West Virginia/Western Maryland synod will ride over 13,000 miles on a bamboo bicycle built for three to increase awareness of world hunger and generate financial support for the ELCA World Hunger Appeal. Tour de Revs will be making stops at each ELCA synod, the 2009 ELCA Youth Gathering and the ELCA Churchwide Assembly.

A prologue ride was taken to all the congregations of the West Virginia-Western Maryland Synod in September, 2008, with much success. In the evenings, most churches hosted a dinner and invited the community, resulting in contributions to ELCA World Hunger of over $2000 (some of those funds were also matched by Thrivent Financial for Lutherans). The prologue ride received a lot of press, allowing many people outside the Lutheran church to learn about ELCA world hunger efforts through local and state newspaper coverage. We expanded our audience further by posting a promotional DVD on YouTube where it has been viewed over 1,100 times, and by creating a group on Facebook that has gained over 200 members.

Two of the three Tour de Revs pastors were at Camp Luther, the synod’s youth summer camp. Interest in the ride and in hunger issues became a secondary part of the camp experience. Some campers gave much of their money brought from home to World Hunger instead of buying treats at the camp store as they had originally intended. At the end of the week, over $2000 had been raised – an amount made even more significant and touching given the average camper age was 13.

Tour de Revs and the grant from ELCA World Hunger have caused many churches in the WV-WMD synod to rethink their commitment to ending world hunger and increase their giving to ELCA World Hunger. One church indicated a planned increase in ELCA World Hunger giving of 400% for 2009! We hope that by the end of the Tour de Revs ride many more congregations around the country will respond in as generous a manner.

Connie Twedt
Tour de Revs

posted by Erin Cummisford