Blankets, clothes, prams and suitcases for refugees will be on the mind of Anglican chaplain Geoff Deutscher this Saturday, as he cycles in International Teams’ annual fundraiser, Ride for Refugees.
It will be Geoff’s second Ride and this year he’ll be cycling with a group of friends from St Paul’s Anglican, Castle Hill. An avid cyclist, Geoff has resolved to “challenge himself” with a 100km ride, and is pleased to report that he’s already smashed his $1000 fundraising goal, raising $2500 for the work of The Oasis.
The Oasis is an Austrian International Teams refugee ministry centre located in Traiskirchen, Austria – a place described as the “refugee highway” because of the high volume of Asian and African refugees that pass through. Money raised for The Oasis by Geoff and others will fund their ongoing work. This includes meeting both the practical needs of refugees – by providing clothes, blankets, prams, suitcases and toiletries and so on – and their spiritual needs, offering prayer, Bible study, various classes, and even a weekly Jesus Film Night.
Ride for Refugees takes place over three weekends in three locations – starting in Sydney this Saturday, then Brisbane on September 2 and Toowoomba on September 9. The first Ride in Australia took place in 2009, with 140 cyclists raising more than $36,000. Eight years later, the Ride has established its place in the calendar as a fun event for all ages to cycle for a worthy cause.
For Brisbane rider Col Davies, this year’s Ride will be the first time he’s been involved since learning about it from a couple at his church who work with refugees. Col’s a self-described “long-term bike rider” who cycles between 12000 to 15000km a year, and he hopes to raise several hundred dollars for refugees in Europe.
“I’d encourage anyone to grab a bike and come along for a good day out.” – Dave Briese
Dave Briese and a team from his church at Dalby Presbyterian participate in Ride Toowoomba every year, to raise funds for the work of the Sydney Refugee Team where Linda Goldthorpe – a previous long-term member of their church – now works with refugees.
The church team has set a collective fundraising goal of $6000, but Dave is hopeful of raising $2000 personally. He says: “I recently stood up in front of our church and told them that I had committed to riding 75km, but I could be persuaded to do 100km if we meet our targets!”
The Toowoomba event has a family theme with a jumping castle, face painting and a short course for the kids.
“I think it’s a great day and I’d encourage anyone to grab a bike and come along for a good day out. The kids can do a few laps and we even had someone along last year who hadn’t ridden a bike for years but loved it. And, at the end of the day, it’s all about helping others and the funds we can raise for them on the day,” Dave says.
For more details of the event in each location, go to rideforrefugees.com.au.