"We are one dynamic team on a mission to help grandpa feed hundreds of hungry children," says Jaden Loewen, one of Arvid Loewen's 13 grandchildren.
Arvid Loewen has been cycling for 18 years this summer, often pushing his body past his physical limit, all in the name of helping feed hungry children in Kenya through a charity called Mully's Children's Family (MCF).
"I'll never forget the moment when I said to God, 'I'm pretty decent at this long-distance cycling thing. I'm going to offer it to you to do what you want to with it. I'll do my best and You do the best.' The exciting thing since that time is we will hit with this ride, the $10 million that we raised for Mully Children's Family. It's been an amazing ride to see what God can do when you step out in obedience and say, 'Here I am.'"
Loewen says without the support of family, he could never have done these intense cycle trips. On the cross-country bike tours and month-long cycling events, Ruth, his wife, helps run everything behind the scenes, including meals. Loewen even holds a Guinness World Record for one of his events.
This weekend, Loewen is going to cycle with three of his grandkids on the back in a bike trailer to help raise funds for starving children in Kenya. The idea is very simple. Anyone looking to donate an amount can write a cheque to MCF Canada, text Loewen their address in Winnipeg, or just outside of the city limits, and he will create a route to pick them up from the outdoor mailbox. Loewen's phone number is 204-996-8758.
"My oldest grandkid is 12 and I've done this for 18 years. They don't know anything else other than every year grandpa does these crazy bike rides. We get to cheer him on and give him high fives on the road or out the side of a window or wherever it is. They're now at a stage in life where they can be involved to some extent."
Today MCF provides food rations (1 meal/day) to 62 community schools, totaling 20,000 students/day. This is in addition to providing for more than 5,500 kids in their eight centers. During the drought, 82 per cent of the children testified that the school lunch provided by MCF is their only meal of the day.
The average cost per meal is about 50 cents. The 'General Funds' are used to purchase this bulk food. The goal is to raise $250,000 which will mean these kids will receive 500,000 meals.
"I've been to Kenya five times. I've seen kids scrounge through garbage dumps. That's what they do instead of going to school. How do you change the cycle of poverty if you don't even attend school? In these impoverished schools, the attendance was down to 45 per cent during the really desperate times. If a kid is hungry they're not going to go to school. Charles Mulli buys bulk rations, partners with public schools, and provides these rations. Then kids know there will be at least one meal a day."
The attendance in the 62 schools that Charles Mulli collaborates with went from 45 per cent to 80 per cent because of that one meal.
"Thousands of children in these community schools have also given their lives to Christ because Charles Mulli doesn't do anything without giving God the credit."
People living outside of Winnipeg that want to donate and support MCF Canada can email Loewen at firstname.lastname@example.org.