Sowing the seed of hope; ‘The grandfather who had crashed’
By Gregory Jackson
(Photo: Reverend Dr. Ben Tumuheirwe, founder of Juna Amagara Ministries of Uganda from the village of Rubanda. James 1:27 inspired him to apply his education to ‘visiting orphans and widows in their time of affliction’.)
Recently Groundz partnered with VeloSano, Cleveland Clinic bike ride charity for cancer research funding, by creating Team Groundz and promoting nutrition as prevention for diet-related illness and certain cancers. For those who donate to Team Groundz we will donate organic, Non-Gmo, and open-pollinated seed to urban farmers; if you join our team you will receive free organic seed, other local food gifts, mentoring inner city youth volunteer opportunities at our urban farms, and ride for cancer research. Groundz customer and celebrity chef Douglas Katz, who we recycle seven tons of food waste per year to donate compost to our local farmers; offered to cook at VeloSano to feature local foods that connect food to farm. He uses his menu item names to educate his staff and customer the importance of sourcing local, simple ingredients.
For Amagara making an education connection took tears. “When I got my masters degree in religion I studied humanism, capitalism, Taoism, Buddhism, Hinduism, all ‘isms,’” Reverend Tumuheirwe said. “But when I heard the cries of orphans and widows it changed my career.”
Juna Amagara Ministries celebrated its 10th anniversary last year.
Since then Amagara has successfully created ABIDE education program where orphans eat good meals, raised in a safe place with Christian value, and mentoring. Reverend Tumuheirwe shared a couple of examples where former orphans have gone to school and have become teachers, some inspired to pursue medical careers in Amagara’s new HEAL clinic that broke ground in Rubanda Village a few months ago; presenting a hope these orphans have not seen before.
“Last year we did a crazy thing,” said Jim Sutton, trip leader of Ride for Orphans Amagara at Cuyahoga Valley Church in Broadview Heights, Ohio. “We rode our bicycles to mile marker “0” at downtown Washington D.C. and we didn’t get home till 3am.”
Sutton leads two bike rides this summer.
The first is a 350 mile bike ride from Pittsburgh, PA to Washington D.C. following an old towpath trail. Along the way riders receive hospitality from churches and opportunity to help out other bike riders, including an older fellow who fell and the team helped last year.
“The grandfather who had crashed,” said Reverend Tumuheire. Thousands of bike riders ride the towpath trail from Pittsburgh to D.C. every spring, summer, and fall; the Riding for Orphans team managed to help him out.
Sutton said riders will ride 45 to 65 miles per day for 5 days, biking between 8:30am to noon with 2 rests, lunch, and bike from 1:00pm – 3:30pm with rests, then set-up camp, eat, and fellowship. The cost for the trip is $200 with a minimum fundraising goal of $600 per rider. He noted that for $500 that is enough money to care for the needs of one orphan for one year. Although he noted in El Salvador and war torn Sudan, care cost per orphan doubles for political reasons.
Bike riders can choose among three orphanages in which the bike ride supports.
Love and Hope Children’s Home in El Salvador, Harvesters Reaching the Nations in South Sudan, and Juna Amagara Ministries. Sutton also leads a second bike ride for orphans from August 8, 2015 through August 14, 2015 for those who cannot make the first ride. Also the second ride follows the Erie Canal, another former towpath trail once used by horses to guide boats up the canal, in New York.
Active lifestyle, whether biking 12-200 miles for cancer research fundraising or a week long bike ride raising awareness of funding orphanages requires healthy living. Bike ride charity is a once per year event, Groundz has learned that when we donate compost to our urban farmers it sows the seed of hope; they offer volunteer opportunities from composting, weeding, watering, and harvesting to mentoring; volunteers can impact the lives of at risk individuals and grow food.
Groundz donates compost to two urban farmers, with sites of expansion in 2015. First we donate compost to Cleveland Crops, Cleveland, Ohio’s largest urban farmer of the Board of Developmental Disabilities. Cleveland Crops is a job coaching for developmental disabilities employees. Mr. Kyle Mitchell, job coach and urban farmer at Cleveland Crops, uses our compost to grow next year’s crop. Schools like Mayfield Schools often visit the farm. Our other farmer is Mrs. Salonica Payne, urban farmer at Willow Community Garden of Forward Church. At both locations exist volunteering with job coaches at Cleveland Crops to mentor and help those in need, or help grow food in one of Cleveland’s food deserts: Historic Broadway District.
“Make sure you wash your kale very good,” said a farm worker in Cleveland Crops as he handed the kale to me. “Yeah, make sure you wash it very good.” Urban farms provide safe places for youth and at risk populations to work, grow food, and contribute to wellness.
When Sutton retold last year’s Ride for Orphans bike ride that ended in Washington D.C. without any accidents he assured: “We won’t be riding to mile marker “0” this year.”
Groundz has been invited to consider helping the orphanage and HEAL clinic in Uganda,Reverend Tumuheire said: “Let’s stay in touch and plan to come to Uganda to help us get start on recycling coffee dregs, ok?”
If you are interested in Riding for Orphans please contact Mr. Jim Sutton at 440-724-6154 or jsutton@WHGardiner.com. If you are interested in riding with Team Groundz at VeloSano or donating please visit Team Groundz VeloSano. If you are interested in volunteering at our urban farms please contact Ms. Salonica Payne at 216-799-8187 firstname.lastname@example.org, or Kyle Mitchell at 216-219-7385 Mitchell.Kyle@cuyahogabdd.org or Cleveland Crops newest farm in Parma, Ohio urban farmer Gerald Gross at Gross.Gerald@cuyahogabdd.org.