Ida Grove First UMC serves 1,007 meals to RAGBRAI cyclists

Ida Grove First UMC serves 1,007 meals to RAGBRAI cyclists

August 04, 2022

Thousands of bike riders from all over the country and the world rode right past the Ida Grove First United Methodist Church. The congregation took its moment in the spotlight to shine and share some true United Methodist hospitality, serving 1,007 meals to RAGBRAI riders.
RAGBRAI, Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa, is in its 49th season and highlights the state’s towns each July. It is an “epic eight-day rolling festival of bicycles, music, food, camaraderie, and community. It is the oldest, largest, and longest multi-day bicycle touring event in the world.”
Left to Right: Hollis, Andy and Josiah from Jackson, Mississippi, enjoyed the air conditioning and meal at Ida Grove First United Methodist Church.
“I came with Hollis 10 years ago when he was six, and he was on a tag-a-long bike then and rode across the state,” said Andy, who had just finished eating at Ida Grove First UMC. He and Hollis and Josiah came all the way from Jackson, Mississippi, to ride the 454.1-mile route.
The church served a catered meal of lasagna, corn, green beans, and a roll, and boasted a full homemade dessert bar including multiple kinds of pie – a RAGBRAI must for riders.
“We asked the congregation to supply the desserts and they came through in a big way,” said Ann Holst, co-chair of the church’s RAGBRAI committee.
“For a small congregation to come up with a thousand pieces of dessert was a challenge but they did it,” said Co-Chair Marcia Moore.
The church averages between 30 and 70 people on a Sunday morning, not including online worshippers. About 50 people were needed during the day to make it happen, and church secretary Maxine Walter said more people showed up during the day to help.
“I’ve been helping around town since six this morning,” said church member Joe Culp. “I directed RVs and then I worked with the Kiwanis and then here at the church.”
Pastor Luann and Nate greet riders as they enter Ida Grove First UMC.
Nate, a grandson of one of the church members, welcomed riders and helped get them excited for their meal.
When asked what his five favorite things of the day were, Nate said, “We got root beer floats, we said hi to the bike riders on the bridge, and we did this at the church, which counts for three things because I got to tell jokes in the hall, I met people out here, and I ate good lasagna.”

As riders left the church, they thanked volunteers and Pastor LuAnn Benge for the food and hospitality.
“I liked that they had prayer for RAGBRAI riders that was showing in the church, and the food was great,” said Andy.
“We wanted to do something to welcome the riders to our community even though we’re a small church,” said Benge. “This shows that even in small congregations when they come together and work together as a team, great things happen.”


More photos from the day

Youth from Ida Grove First United Methodist Church help clear tables and refill drinks during the meal.
A RAGBRAI rider picks out a piece of homemade pie.
Riders wait in the air-conditioned sanctuary while they wait for the meal. 
Riders enjoyed some delicious food and relaxation time after a long day biking.

After eating, riders head out to enjoy other activities in Ida Grove and get some well-deserved rest.
A shuttle stops in front of Ida Grove First UMC, bringing riders directly to the meal.