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Ride for Refuge shifts into high gear

Rev. David Burrows, left, and Rev. Jonathan Rowe, rode their bikes from Cape Spear, the easternmost part of Canada, to the Cathedral in St. John’s.

October 19, 2020

By Mike Ziemerink

After the COVID-19 pandemic struck in March of this year, nobody was sure how this year’s Ride for Refuge was going to play out, but now with the Ride behind us, we are pleased to announce our most successful campaign ever!

Our original goal was to raise $25,000 for our partner in Uganda, St. Jude Family Projects. Undaunted by the pandemic, the Ride organizers, Blue Sea Philanthropy, created a Freestyle category, allowing people the flexibility to choose an activity of their choice. With two weeks left to go in the campaign, we had met the initial goal, then boosted it to $30,000. We quickly blew past that target too and moved the finish line to $35,000, then surpassed that as well, thanks to the overwhelming support for our participants across Canada. Our final target was $40,000, and we are proud to say we exceeded that goal as well.

As of today, PWRDF has raised $42,000, our largest amount ever, more than doubling what was raised last year. Out of the 128 charities across Canada that participated this year, PWRDF is currently ranked 8th. With the ride freestyle option, 59 participants undertook all kinds of activities to raise funds while staying safe and socially distant.

From the traditional walking and cycling to reading Agatha Christie mysteries and knitting baby blankets, this year’s participants really got creative. One of the biggest fundraisers was none other than Primate Linda Nicholls, who held two Facebook Live Hymn Sings, taking pledges and hymn requests raising nearly $3,500. Many participants experienced the rugged beauty of Canada’s wilderness:

  • James Mesich, a former Youth Council member, hiked with his father for nine days on the Lake Superior Coastal Trail.
  • PWRDF Board member Cynthia Haines-Turner and PWRDF Diocesan Rep Mona Edwards (right) hiked to the top of Gros Morne Mountain in Newfoundland.
  • And PWRDF staffer Carolyn Vanderlip and her partner paddled their kayak in 11 different bodies of water in Ontario.

St. Jude Family Projects teaches sustainable agriculture techniques to mostly women and youth from rural Uganda and across Africa, improving livelihoods and food security while also protecting the environment. 

St. Jude’s founder, Josephine Kizza Aliddeki, is amazed with the success of this year’s Ride for Refuge. “I am happy to hear the good news,” she said before attending Praying with PWRDF on Zoom in October. As part of this campaign Josephine and her son Daniel also participated in two webinars with PWRDF supporters. “Thank you for such a great opportunity. We appreciate the support from PWRDF staff and Canadians so much.”

Donations to his year’s Ride for Refuge will be accepted until October 31, so if you haven’t already, you can make your gift here.

Thank you to everyone who participated and supported our campaign for St. Jude Family Projects and we look forward to doing it again next year.