From 2014 to 2019, PA IPL cyclists were warmly hosted by REACH, Religious Efforts to Assist and Care for the Homeless, when they stopped in Hagerstown MD on their way to Washington, DC.
Bill Pike, current president of the REACH Board of Directors, sent us these reflections on how the bike trips intersected with the work of his organizations.
When I think of our time with the riders, I think of one word: sharing. From sharing a meal together, to sharing a place to stay at Reach and Christ’s Reformed Church. The Reach shelter has places to sleep, take a long hot shower and do a load of laundry while CRC provides a safe place to store bikes.
Over the last 8 years, the members of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Hagerstown and members of a few Open Table groups have shared a meal that meets all dietary requirements of the group. The riders would share their concerns about the environment that would be shared with their elected officials in D.C. I was especially impressed with how articulate the younger riders were in their conversations with us.
Sometimes, we would share information about the mission and operation of Reach. We also shared information about the Open Table which is a program to mentor an individual or family out of homelessness, poverty or both. One of our brothers who spoke to the group was Darius Harris. He is now the father to five healthy children supported by his job as a manager of a McDonald’s restaurant. This is a true success story.
There is one picture that will be forever burned in my head: The riders all stood in the 2nd floor elevator lobby with the Reach sign on the back wall.
I look forward to seeing you all soon.