In the United States today, one in every nine Americans suffers from food insecurity. This means that 37 million Americans already cannot afford to eat, 11 million of whom are children. Moreover, COVID-19 is only making matters worse. With the pandemic, it is estimated that 54M Americans in the U.S. will suffer from food insecurity, including 18 million children.
After a successful nationwide 15-city campaign to get riders out to vote last year with numerous partners including LA's Black Girls Ride, Brooklyn-based Engines for Change has now shifted lanes to tackle the growing economic fallout from COVID-19, specifically getting food on the table for those in need here in the US.
Pairing a love of moto with a social conscience has always seemed like a natural partnership for E4C founder Kirsten Midura, who sees city motorcycle ride events around the country as a way to both collect and distribute food, and support the charities that make those efforts their life’s work.
“This is an unprecedented crisis,” Midura says. “In the United States today, one in every nine Americans suffers from food insecurity. This means that 37 million Americans already cannot afford to eat, 11 million of whom are children. Moreover, COVID-19 is only making matters worse. With the pandemic, it is estimated that 54M Americans in the U.S. will suffer from food insecurity, including 18 million children.”
In the past year E4C was involved in PPE distribution during the height of the pandemic in NYC, and, on the environmental side, the organization has hosted several beach cleanup efforts in Brooklyn. The company is currently in the process of filing for non-profit 501c3 status.
On Saturday, April 24, riders in US cities, including the Big Apple, will hit the streets to help address food insecurity in their local communities as part of the inaugural E4C Ride Against Hunger. To date, nine cities, coast to coast, have signed on, including: Chicago, IL; Washington, DC; Toronto, ON, Canada; Raleigh-Durham, NC; Atlanta, GA; San Diego, CA; San Francisco, CA; and Midura’s hometown Portland, OR.
A webpage is already set up at enginesforchange.org to help people organize or participate in rides, and to identify any potential partners the rides could benefit … food banks and food-related charities. Sponsors are also needed.
“The E4C organizers are designing a combination food drive & fundraiser in the manner that best suits their local needs,” Midura said. “Fill out the form online or reach out directly to your local organizer to learn more about how the event will be carried out in your city.”
“Depending on the city's needs, some may be collecting food donations, (while) others may be delivering food from food banks to recipients.”
In the coming weeks, E4C will be providing instructions on how to donate food and/or money.
“Each donation will be directed toward one participating city and their partner charity. You will be able to select your city of choice when you donate. You also will have the option of donating to an ‘Underdog Fund,’ which will be put toward the city with the lowest donations at the end of the fundraising period.”
At the end of the April 24 food drive, all financial donations and food donations will be counted. For the sake of the fundraiser, each food donation will be considered a $1 per ounce contribution toward that city’s fundraising amount.
“The city with the most combined (food + financial) donations will have their donations matched by a soon-to-be announced corporate sponsor,” Midura said. “Ninety percent of all donations will go toward the partner charity, while 10% will go toward E4C for overhead costs and future programs.”
As more details become available they will be posted on enginesforchange.org and E4C’s social media: Instagram | Facebook.
TIME TO GET INVOLVED NYC
Midura is currently overseeing partnerships and ride details for the NYC ride (Facebook event page). Any and all local help is appreciated.
On the national side, Midura says she's already happy to be working with some of her former Ride to the Polls partners, MotoXmission, Ride to the Warehouse, and Hammerheads PDX.
While the specifics are still being sorted out, the NYC ride will be run in aid of Universe City in Brownsville, NY, which is working to build a full-size Aquaponic Farm that will directly impact the health of people living in the surrounding community.
"Universe City NYC is redefining the importance of building a strong economy around (the local) community by emphasizing agriculture, social enterprise, and community healing practices."
UPDATE: Locally, you can make a donation to the Brooklyn, NYC ride through givebutter.com. In Bayonne, NJ, Clutch Moto is organizing a ride and food drive as well. You can drop off food goods to their chique coffee bar at 590 Avenue C. They also accept money donations. Current food banks they will be donating to are: Sunday Supper - City Line, Bayonne, NJ; and PERC Shelter- 111 37th Street, Union City, NJ.