Sometimes things are hard to comprehend until you see them. Tales of the volume of pies sold during RAGBRAI (Registers Annual Bike Ride Across Iowa) have been told for the 50 years the bicycle ride has existed, but until you see it, it is hard to believe.
United Methodist Churches are known by riders to be one of the best places to get a meal on the route, and many riders expressed appreciation that the funds go back to the community through ministry. The Iowa Annual Conference created a map that was sponsored by United Methodist Communications to direct riders to meals and events on the route.
On the first evening of the ride, when bicyclists rolled into Storm Lake, IA, the reality of the quantity of food and pie served at the Storm Lake United Methodist Church was eye-opening. When the doors opened at 3:00 p.m., more than one hundred people began lining up to eat a heaping plate of spaghetti with meat sauce, garlic bread, lettuce salad, and their choice of pie.
Jefferson First United Methodist Church sold 880 burritos, about 1000 pieces of pie, 300 bars, and gallons of tea and coffee, which had a tent set up along the main route. The church estimates about $10,000 was raised that will be split between the food pantry, church and Webb House Youth Center.
"It is great to see our congregation and community pulling together to do this project, which not only helped our food pantry, church, and Webb House Youth Center but also helped feed the people," said Shirley Haupert, who was the RAGBRAI Coordinator at Jefferson First. "They were hungry and we all stepped up to help them and put a good face for our community! It was a lot of work preparing for it, but great fellowship happened because of it."
Lakes United Methodist Church worked with two other churches in Lake View to sell 2,200 pieces of pie and ice cream. Each church received about $2,150 in profit from the stand, which will be used to support mission work in the community. They were told to expect riders around 7, but started service around 6:40 a.m. and had run out by 11:40 a.m. Riders continued en masse through Lake View throughout the afternoon.
Community United Methodist Church in Ogden set up signs welcoming riders into town at Church Secretary Deanna Moe's family alpaca farm stand. Moe said that she appreciated the opportunity to let riders know they were welcome at the church and as a business experience for her children.
"My family runs Happy Alpaca Farms, and my husband and I thought it would be a good opportunity for our children to make some money with the stand," Moe said. "Connor, 17, Dillon, 15, Kayla 11, and Hazel, 8, all had a great time!"