6/18 Updates

The Latest!

Headline News

We’ve been covered in an awesome piece by WFPL reporter Laura Valentine. We were very excited to see our piece published AND excited all over again to see the post get picked up and shared by NPR on their Facebook page! Please check out the story and share/RT/email/pass it on so we can generate some new, interested volunteers!

We are at a point where we need to develop some new volunteers to help us serve our communities. Please help us spread the word so that we might connect with someone new who would like to make burritos with us! 

Latest updates…

  1. Come serve! The BR always needs volunteers to make burritos and/or to ride with us, connecting with the community. Ride, roll, donate, or just however you feel moved to serve!

    Our next ride in Huntington is THISSaturday, 6/22. Email huntington@burritoriders.org to ride or help provide support, you can ride or roll burritos, or both. Always the 2nd and 4th Saturdays in Htgn.

    Our next ride in Louisville is July 6th, email louisville@burritoriders.org to ride with us or help provide support for that event. Again, we need riders, burrito rollers, or folks who would like to rock out on both! Always the 1st and 3rd Saturdays in the ‘Ville.

  2. We’re hoping to help raise some donations of household items forHarmony House in Huntington! As they transition homeless folks into apartments, they need housewares, furniture, everything you can think of for setting up house.Contact us to help, or Harmony House directly, but please help!

  3. Bicycles are in our DNA and we want to help get more of them into our communities in need. A bicycle can provide someone with a sense of independence, empowerment, pride, and accomplishment. Do YOU have an old bicycle that we can breathe new life into and then provide for someone in our community of need? We’d like to hear from you!

  4. Twitter us! We’re @burritoriders, so come follow us, retweet us, help us grow that segment too.

  5. And, as always, check out our site for links on how to donate, our wish list,how to serveget a shirt, and all the latest stuff.

There is a whole lot more for us to do and we need your help, so Come Give Some!Forward this email!

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Analysis Paralysis

This is a long overdue post to the blog, I know. We’ve been thinking a lot lately about how to grow this effort. We have arrived at a point where we have a very passionate, faithful group of volunteers who are shouldering a pretty consistent piece of the work that we do in our communities. We now find ourselves asking the age-old question “Have we plateau’d, and, if so, now what?”

It’s not just a Burrito Riders question, and it’s not just within our community. The larger question is, “How do we step outside of ourselves and begin walking with others?” It’s not always easy to do, but it’s almost always easier than we think it will be. Sometimes it looks like the hardest thing to do. Consider this passage, a verse from 1st John featured on one of our Burrito Riders labels.

          This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.              1 John 3:16

That sounds huge, right?! Jesus had it wired. He definitely knew what needed to be done, but am I really supposed to lay down MY life for others? I’m going to interpret this in a very non-scholarly fashion, because you know that I’m no theologian. Don’t think of it as hurling yourself in front of a metaphorical cross-town bus to spare the person who’s stumbled in the crosswalk. Rather, consider laying down an element of your life for your brothers and sisters. Think of something that you really enjoy, a part of your routine that is just sacred. Maybe you really enjoy sleeping in on Saturday and then a leisurely cup (or 6) of coffee (I know I totally do). Maybe Friday night is your out-on-the-town night, your chance to blow off some steam. Can you lay that down for someone else? Can you sacrifice a piece of your routine in order to make time for someone else? Perhaps you can set aside the fact that you guard your weekends after a long work week, and volunteer with a group. Perhaps you forgo sleeping in on Saturday because you realize that your getting up early to help at the mission or shelter could mean the world to someone who doesn’t even know yet that they needed to see you there, for them.

Maybe it’s more complex than simply giving up some patio time, a hobby, or a guilty pleasure. Maybe we need to lay down something that resides much deeper inside of you. Have you ever heard of the concept of “analysis paralysis?” Loosely defined, it’s the idea that we sometimes get so wound-up about every little piece of a complex problem or we gaze as far as we can see up the steep slope of the job ahead of us that we get locked up and frustrated. As a result, we’re often defeated before we even start. It’s okay to admit it. I do this all of the time. I try to be better, bolder in the face of adversity, but I still struggle with avoidance when the mountain looks too high to tackle.

Perhaps lay down the insecurity in your life, so that you can pick up something that’s been weighing on your brother or sister. And when you do start to feel that anxiety creep in, the surety that you can’t possibly do enough to help (so why bother doing anything, really?), it’s okay to acknowledge that you have limits and that you can’t possibly fix everything for everyone. But you can fix one thing, or maybe a handful of things, for one person or one couple or one family. Do for one what you wish you could do for many. I can’t buy everyone’s food and solve world hunger, but I can buy lunch for one person today who needs it. I can’t fix the school system’s budget crisis, but I can buy school supplies for a family.

We are not all well off. Many of us can’t afford that new iPhone or TV. Many of us would love to run downtown and buy a new bicycle, but that’s expensive and, really, our 7 year old bike is just fine. A lot of us can’t spare the cash to take our spouse or date to a movie. Sometimes we really have to think hard about whether or not we should spend $6 on a drink at Starbucks, delicious though it is. Despite all of this, we have so much more than so many people and none of these things matter to someone who has no safe place to sleep at night or can’t buy dinner for his family or can’t buy shoes that fit for his child.

Have you priced a pair of kids’ shoes at Walmart? You can probably afford to help that one kid, and those shoes are better than any iPhone to that child.

What can you do for one person? It might be a person in your life who needs you or it might be for a person you haven’t yet met. Open yourself up to the possibility.

This is the part where I remind you that the Burrito Riders are an awesome way to connect with someone. The burritos are pretty cheap to make and they are the tool we use to make friends. Our formula seems simple (ride bikes, give out burritos to hungry folks), but our mission is more complex. We enter with the burrito so that we can become friends. The burrito is the handshake upon which we begin building relationships, through respect and trust, so that we can show God’s love. Once we have begun to learn people’s names and situations, we can start to see what the opportunities are to help individuals at the ground level, one person at a time.

And if not the Burrito Riders, there are opportunities within your life to begin to get involved in the life of one other person, no matter how small or how insignificant the gesture may seem to you. It may mean everything to someone with nothing.

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Rain or shine


When it rains it pours, eh? This past weekend I had the wonderful fortune to make it to Louisville for a Burrito Ride with my LouCrew and the weather was pretty awful, but the ride was still pretty wonderful.

This past weekend’s ride in the Lou was exceptional for a couple of different reasons. First off, we had a burrito deficit leading up to the ride. Come Thursday we were like “Hmmm… where are all of the burritos going to come from?” I put the call out on the wire and God provided, but I have a theory about that provision. The community made it rain burritos on us, probably to the tune of about 250+ hot breakfast burritos.  However,  just so we wouldn’t get too cocky, God gave us a nice cold rain to ride in to, you know, keep us humble. 😉 I had company, but there was no misery to be seen. Curt, Richie, Stephanie and I were moistened, but not dampened. (I could do this all day!)

John and Maya came out for the send-off and brought us more burritos, and we were joined by WFPL reporter Laura Valentine! Laura has long been interested in what we do and has wanted to join us, but work gets in the way. She was able to make magic on this morning, however, and came out to record our ride and spend some time with us post-ride so we could share about the BR for what will hopefully become a broadcast story on 89.3! This was a great time, but we’ll get to that.

It was just so great to be back in the 502 and hanging out at our regular stops with folks I hadn’t seen in months. True to form, I, when given an opportunity to be on the news, will somehow embarrass myself and the BR! This latest opportunity was owed to my being challenged to a Vanilla Ice-off by one of our regulars. I was able to rock out the entire first verse, handing him the second, which he nailed. Never a dull moment on the ride, eh? (Laura, edit kindly!)

Prior to my Vanilla Ice moment, I had the opportunity to meet Julia, or “Smurf,” as she’s known on the street. Amazing to get to hear from her and understand even a small part of what she’s endured on the street. She’s been homeless since November and is trying to get herself back together. She wanted to speak to me about getting a donated bike. While she wanted one very much, she was more insistent that she be able to get one for her friend, if at all possible. Her friend recently managed to get a job, but was struggling to make the long walk across town to work. Smurf also told me about some of the challenges that she faces as a woman on the street and what she sees as obstacles for women and families. Her biggest desire, as she tells it to me, is to get back on her feet and work her way into an opportunity to try and create a day shelter that is for women and children. She lamented that on Saturdays the only day shelter that welcomes women is Jeff Street, and they close at noon. She had no idea what she was going to do to stay warm and dry after she left Jeff St.

We talk to folks like this all of the time, people who want better and desperately seek opportunities to make it better.

My cognitive dissonance moment of the day was brought to us by the 139th Kentucky Derby. It was discomfortingly surreal to be riding through downtown, in the rain, looking for folks to serve and to see all of the folks in expensive clothes and cars, at expensive restaurants and hotels, preparing for a lavish afternoon of leisure, seemingly oblivious to those in need around them. This isn’t a righteous indignation rant, but we (myself included here!) do spend so much money and attention on things that are not even important, like the newest gadget, home decor, and excessive wardrobes. We do not give nearly enough. These rides have changed my family’s perspective in so many ways.

Give. Serve. Love. For real. (lecture over)

So, we had a really great ride with some awesome folks, and we capped it with a stop at our regular coffee joint, Please & Thank You. The 5 of us enjoyed some coffee and come company and had a great time being interviewed for the local public radio. We love to talk about the BR, so you know we had a good time. 😉 If the segment gets picked up for broadcast, I’ll let you know right here and on our FB pages for Lou and the H.

Thanks for reading, feel free to comment, and we’d love to serve with you! Give us a holla!

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More from Amanda…

We’ve had a busy week since our first ride on the 13th.  As I mentioned in the very long blog post (sorry, I couldn’t help myself), Tim made a connection with a couple, Bill and Amanda, that had been living in a sub-camp of sorts down by the river.  We met back up with a few of the people living in the camp later that day to drop off some water, some brand new and super sturdy moving blankets donated by an awesome member of our Revolution community in Louisville, and a few canned goods.  While speaking with them, we discovered that their camp had recently been burnt in retaliation for the actions of someone living at the camp at the time.  It was heart breaking to hear them tell of losing all they had.  They were fortunate to have a camp stove, but the vandal used their white gas for the stove to further fuel the fire.  They lost all but what they were wearing at the time.  One of the men had recently been gifted a leather biker jacket by “Papa Bear,” a leader among the Bikers for Christ.  He spoke of how wearing the jacket made him feel good about himself and like he “was somebody.”  That about brought me to tears.

Tim called in to check on the group Saturday night and was shocked to discover that their camp had again been burnt.  They had hoped to call us, but our business card was burned up along with their stuff.  There was a freeze warning issued for Friday night, so Tim and Edison headed down to the park with more blankets and a huge care package put together by Tim’s sister Paige that included pillows, clothing for the lone woman in the camp, food, and hygiene items.  Tim and Edison asked if they had considered moving the camp.  They have been looking for a new site, but areas free from police intervention are few and far between.  They have also seen some things in other camps that they consider to be disturbing, so they are understandably fearful of joining them.  There is good news from this group though.  The aforementioned couple is moving to Las Vegas at the end of the month, where Bill has family and a job awaiting him.  A local pastor purchased bus tickets for them, so they are hopefully on their way to a life off of the streets.

Stories like those shared by Bill and Amanda continue to amaze me.  Before Burrito Riders I felt like I had a pretty good handle on the hurdles marginalized people face, the structural inequality that oppresses them in the everyday.  I was wrong.  I didn’t even begin to have a grasp of their experience.  I still don’t.  However, I hope to continue learning so that I can find additional ways to serve.

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Amanda’s First Burrito Ride: Recap!

Saddle up!

Saddle up!

Exactly 392 days after we launched the Burrito Riders in Louisville, the Burrito Riders of Huntington embarked on our inaugural ride.  Strangely enough, despite being an early partner in crime with Tim on this adventure, I never actually went on a ride in Louisville.  Logistically speaking, with two small children, we didn’t see it as feasible.  So I have been burrito rolling, volunteer coordinating, editing blog posts, and just generally telling Tim what to do providing guidance and counsel for the last year or so.  Moving closer to family made it possible for me to finally make it out for a ride.  Having participated, I now understand what I have been missing.

We are fortunate in that the Huntington community has been very warm and welcoming to the Burrito Riders.  We already have a sizeable following on Facebook and a number of individuals have committed to volunteer their time.  This first ride demonstrated for me the passion that people in my hometown have for service.  We were blown away by our burrito count for the ride last week – over 130 burritos!  Black Sheep Burritos and Brews donated about 50 burritos, and plan to continue support, but the rest were contributed by individuals and families, some of whom had been following our exploits in Louisville.  It was really encouraging for us as riders.

Nine of us met near the Marshall University campus on 3rd Avenue.  I was immediately struck by the fact that we knew only two of the other riders prior to the ride and that our cohort included both a three year-old and a grandmother braving street riding for the first time.  Introductions were made and we set off up 16th Street to 4th Avenue in search of those that might be in need of a hot breakfast.

Ridin' Burrito!

Ridin’ Burrito!

I was, admittedly, a bit nervous.  I don’t actually enjoy road biking even a fraction as much as I enjoy being on the trails.  The proximity of the cars makes me especially anxious.  However, I quickly discovered that riding in a group made me feel much more relaxed and comfortable.  Within a few blocks I stopped noticing the vehicles as they passed and was enjoying the company of my fellow riders.  Despite being stopped by every light on 4th Avenue, we quickly made it to the main branch of the library, where we assumed we might find some people in need.  It turned out that no one was around, so we moved on to the Homeless Veterans Center on 8th Avenue.  We were able to feed four people in this area, but quickly realized that where we really needed to be was Harris Riverfront Park.

We didn’t, of course, go into the ride blind.  Tim reached out to a variety of organizations and individuals involved with the homeless in Huntington to ask for advice regarding a ride route.  Most suggested that we simply serve at the riverfront with Bikers for Christ and a few area churches.  The work that they do is simply amazing.  This is an incredibly dedicated group of people.  They provide food, as well as other items (when available) on a weekly basis, going back 8 years.  There are two large camps, as well as several smaller ones along the river near the park, so this is an ideal area for service.  We were reluctant to go directly to the riverfront though.  We were concerned that we might miss some people if we didn’t ride around a bit first, but we also wanted to maintain the “ride” portion of Burrito Riders.  This ministry was attractive to Tim and I (and many of our volunteers) in part due to the biking component.  We did learn that most of those in Huntington who are hungry head down to the riverfront on Saturdays mornings, so, of course, we will always be there.  However, we are also exploring ride routes that would take us through Guyandotte or Old Central City prior to our final destinations at the river.

Upon our arrival at Harris Riverfront Park, I was awestruck both by the number of people in need that had congregated there, as well as by the number of those serving.  From what I was able to observe while distributing burritos, the other volunteers were handing out a biscuit with gravy, fruit, coffee, juice, peanut butter crackers, socks, and a variety of second hand clothing.  There was a very relaxed feeling of community and a diverse population being served.  As with my experience at the City Mission on Christmas Eve, I was disheartened to see so many children in need.  The nine of us moved through the crowd as they exited the line and tried to speak with those who accepted food from us.  It was an incredibly humbling experience.  I know it is cliché to say it, but we genuinely received a tremendous blessing from serving this community.

It was especially meaningful to hear their stories.  Over the last year, Tim has tried to express how badly the people the Burrito Riders serve just want to tell someone about their experiences.  Despite working with marginalized people in the past, I was unprepared for how forthcoming and earnest some of these people can be when trying to explain their circumstances.  We spoke with those who had recently managed to find affordable housing, but still struggled to meet their basic needs, those who had spent all winter living on the riverbank, those who had recently lost their housing, those who felt victimized by the system and the people in our community, and those who felt they had been fortunate to build relationships with caring individuals who were attempting to help.  There were, of course, also those who didn’t want to talk, who seemed a bit fearful, likely with good reason.

Tim being Tim, he quickly made a connection with a couple who spent the winter in a small camp with a handful of other individuals who were wary of the larger camps.  He asked what they needed at the moment, and they asked for water and blankets, two such basic items that I think the majority of us take for granted.  It was humbling, to say the least.

After a moment of gratitude and prayer with the others serving on the riverfront, we set off once again to return to our start point.  We debriefed a bit and discussed our experiences.  Stacy, a new friend who taught me that I needn’t have stayed home for the last year, but should have simply packed my kiddos along with me, suggested including outlying areas in our ride.  As I said, the route is still being developed, so we really welcome suggestions.  April, who I grew up with in Chesapeake and remember as the only other kid besides my sister who wanted to play outside at 7am during the summer, remarked that she had gotten to know some of those we served because she frequently rides the city bus.  She came along with us because she had previously recognized the huge need in our community.  Sean and I briefly discussed our love for camping and desire to do it more often, a conversation that, in retrospect, seems odd given that we had just left a group of people who were living outside because they have no place else to go, not because it is a vacation.  I think that, perhaps, it goes to show just how much our perspectives can be transformed from personal engagement with those in need.

After packing up our gear at the start point, my brother, Edison, Tim, Mitch and Bonita (the aforementioned grandmother), and I stood talking for some time.  We were all so energized, by the ride in the cool morning air, but, more importantly, by the incredible opportunity to serve and show some love to those often overlooked by society.  It is truly a life-changing experience.  I experienced it years ago when volunteering with immigration detainees in Virginia, but honestly hadn’t been involved with direct service to people in quite some time.  I had forgotten how impactful it can be.  I wasn’t kidding when later that day I posted on my Facebook status that giving can be addictive.

– Amanda

At Harris Riverfront

At Harris Riverfront

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Important Links, y’all!

Periodically I like to remind folks that the blog is just one thing we have. You are invited to click through these at your leisure…

Sign up for our email updates, because you need to know things! Share this URL on FB , Twitter, etc, so people can receive updates on our activities and requests for volunteer help: http://eepurl.com/sWG9b

“Like” us on Facebook, Louisville or Huntington, because growth! We need to spread the word about what we do so that more people can learn about how to support their community through the BR! (Then Share us, too!)

You may not be a bicycle rider, you may not fancy yourself a cook, but you can always donate! Check out the donation page to learn how your donations are used.

We have a few irons in the services fire, you can check out our Wish List to see items that we need. Perhaps you would like to donate some of these items, or could help to generate some donations.

The easiest way to serve with the BR, is by talking about us and getting the word out. What could be easier than wearing us for everyone to see? Our t-shirts start at $10 and are a stylish way to help spread our mission out in the world! We’ll be placing an order soon, check out the selections!

Anything else you might need? You can email us at louisville@burritoriders.org or huntington@burritoriders.org and ask whatever you like! We’d love to help you have a better understanding of what we do!

Love service!

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Extra, Extra!

Let me start by saying, Huntington has

a heart for service.


Since arriving in my hometown to begin laying the groundwork for the BR, WV-style, I have discovered that it’s not been tough to get a foothold around here! People began to hear about  this thing when the Parthenon ran their article about us, thank you Marla!

Having been out to hand-out cards and network, what I’m finding is that a bunch of folks have ALREADY heard about us and are interested in what we’re bringing to H. I went out Saturday for a ride with my ‘bro’-in-law, Edison, and we were approached by an awesome couple, passionate to serve, on the street because they recognized my t-shirt! (FYI, I really only wear BR shirts anymore! hahaha, my poor wife…)

So, we’re completely excited to have been featured in the Herald Dispatch this morning! If you don’t have an “analog copy,” check it out online!

photo 1Huge gratitude to Dave Lavender at the HD for putting this story together for us! (Especially the part where I’m described as a “thirty-something rocker!” Random hilarity!)

Here is just some of what we’ve loved about launching in Htgn:

– The community is excited and hungry to help in this mission! We’ve come in contact with individuals and orgs who have welcomed us with open arms, and that’s been phenomenal.

– Pat and his crew at Black Sheep Burritos and Brews have jumped onboard and pledged to provide burritos and assorted on-going means of support (more on that to come!) for the BR, which has been a huge blessing. Also, we’re using Black Sheep as our meet-up spot. See you at 8:30am on Saturday!

– We’ve found a great community of support with pastor Tracy Tooley and ReGeneration Church! This is a church that we’ve been attending in Huntington, a brand new church plant full of excitement, enthusiasm, and a desire to cultivate a new missional community of faith here in Huntington. They are all-in for the BR! I got to talk a little bit about what we do during the service yesterday and am very blessed to be involved with these folks!

So come out and serve with us! This week we’re talking to folks and making the burritos. Saturday morning we’ll meet at Black Sheep at 8:30am. I’m told that, on Saturdays, we can park with no problem in the lot across 3rd Ave from the restaurant, and then we’ll just gather at the cafe. If you would like to make burritos, ride, donate, or serve in ANY capacity with us, please don’t hesitate to reach out and say hello. tim@burritoriders.org

“Like” us, and Share us, at Facebook.com/burritoridersWV and /burritoriders (for the Louisville originals, go CARDS!).

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A Word from Ethan…

A Word from Ethan.

St. Mary's Navilleton

St. Mary’s Navilleton in the fall

We were blessed to be joined by the teen youth of St. Mary’s Navilleton, in Floyd’s Knob, IN, for our most recent Burrito Ride. These kids were awesome, and Ethan was very kind to share his own take on the experience with us. Thank you, Ethan, for sharing!

Who knew that Craigslist could lead a group to experience something so powerful and life changing?

I have always been a huge fan of Craigslist, and I must say that my fiancé has an equal addiction to the website. Here lately, we have both spent a large amount of our time on Craigslist, as we are trying to find a place to live in Murfreesboro, TN, where we will be moving following our wedding. You can only look at apartments and houses for so long, so Elaine ventured into the other sections of Craigslist where she stumbled onto the Burrito Riders of Louisville. She called me one day to tell me to check the group out, she even went as far as liking them on Facebook so they would show up on my newsfeed (then I would have no excuse but to look at the page). One look at the page was all it took, I was hooked on the ministry before I even had the chance to experience what was happening every first and third Saturday.

As a youth leader at St. Mary’s Navilleton, I am always thinking of new ways to get middle and high school youth to experience new service opportunities. Each year we organize a 24 hour famine for the high school youth, challenging them to spend 24 hours at church with no food. This year we wanted the service to be more emotionally challenging, rather than physically challenging, and that’s where the Burrito Riders come into play. After many discussions with the youth minister, we decided that the Burrito Riders would be just enough to challenge the youth on a whole new level. Once contacts had been made within the Burrito Riders, plans were put in place and we were ready to begin our fast at St. Mary’s Navilleton.

Once everyone arrived on Friday night, we spent some time talking about the evening’s activities, and what the youth could expect throughout the night and into the next morning, never mentioning the Burrito Riders experience. We took the youth on a food scavenger hunt where we challenged them to go door to door and ask for canned goods for the the homeless. Two hours later, and two car loads later, we had 267 can goods for the homeless in our community. I spent some time helping the youth count the items while the other youth leaders began to prepare the burritos. It was super funny watching and listening to the youth talk about the smells that were coming form the kitchen. When I was asked what was going on in the kitchen I acted totally oblivious. Once I received the okay that the burritos were ready for rolling I sat the youth down and explained to them what they would be doing. The youth were very eager to roll the burritos as they knew is was for a good cause. Many of them were even excited about going out on the streets and handing the burritos out themselves.

Now that the burritos were rolled, and the night was drawing to an end, I had one last challenge for the youth. I asked them a series of questions and had them record the answers on an iPad. One of the questions included, “what are you thoughts about serving with the burrito riders?” As everyone began getting ready for bed little conversations began to arise among groups about the handing out of burritos to the homeless, and the nerves began to set in. The next morning we woke up at 7, loaded up all of the burritos and canned goods, and hit the road.

My fiancé and I drove together, and the youth van followed us, so I wasn’t able to hear conversations in the van. I was told later that the conversations in the van were focused on the burritos and the youths’ nerves about serving the burritos to the homeless. Once we arrived at Kroger, got our burritos labeled, and kicked off with prayer, we hit the road following the Burrito Riders on their bikes. First stop, Jeff Street Homeless Shelter. Elaine and I jumped out and immediately dove in to help hand out burritos. The youth stood back somewhat, not really knowing what to think. Eventually the kids began handing out burritos and water to the men and women at the shelter.

Elaine and I spent some time with a group of youth talking to one of the guys about his story. I was blown away by what some of these people go through on a daily basis.

Next stop, campbell street camp where our canned good would be put to use. Once we all arrived at the camp I began unloading the canned goods, this is when the youth realized that all of the goods that they collected would benefit a group of people that struggled to have shelter. The youth were amazed at how happy many of the men were when they had nothing. We left the canned goods and headed to our final two stops, St. John’s and Wayside Christian Mission.

The final two stops consisted of the youth handing out the burritos. At one point I had cold chills as I watched the youth grab burritos and walk around to the men, giving them burritos. The youth were no longer hiding behind us leaders, they were taking full advantage of the experience. That was the moment when I saw God working in each one of the youth! Following the stop at Wayside Christian Mission we said our goodbyes to the guys and headed back to church to debrief what we had seen.

As we arrived back at church we sent the youth upstairs to the main gathering room. We then spent some time talking to the youth about what they thought and saw throughout the morning. I heard one youth say that she was not hungry for food, but that she hungered for more service opportunities. They had nothing but good things to say about the experience so I once again challenged them to record what they thought of their experience.

In conclusion, keep in mind that all of this was done with youth that had not had anything to eat in 18 hours. I can’t begin to say how humbled I was to serve the homeless in our community with people that truly have a heart of gold. The thought of taking 11 youth to homeless shelters was terrifying, but I think they learned more they ever imagined. I continue to hear things from the youth about wanting to form burrito teams that will provide burritos once a month to the Burrito Riders of Louisville. I can’t thank the Burrito Riders of Louisville enough for taking us and allowing us to take part in such an amazing and powerful experience. We look forward to serving side by side with the Burrito Riders and will continue to pray for the ministry. I believe that every youth group and youth leader should ride with the Burrito Riders at least once. You never really understand your blessings until you see first hand what your brothers and sisters in Christ don’t have.

We’re so grateful to the these folks. And you can see the video that they made, right here. I hope you are as inspired as I was to watch this video.

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Love to Ride, Live to Serve

Love to Ride, Live to Serve

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Someone else’s take ;-)

I’m forever looking for others to share their thoughts and experiences about serving with the BR, because, goodness knows, I’m sure you get tired of hearing just from me all the time! 😉 I did manage to get some insight from a couple of participants from this past weekend’s “Anniversary Ride.” Thanks to John and Kassie for reaching out and sharing!

John Nolan says:

Anniversary ride was a huge success!  And it was very nice weather compared to lately.

That youth group hit a grand slam!  They seemed a bit apprehensive at Jeff street, but by Campbell Camp and the St. John’s stops, well there they took the lead with encouragement from some of us veterans and actually worked the room to serve the men.  

I cannot say enough about that entire group, they were such a Blessing this AM.

Of course we dropped the ball on hot sauce which was called out on about 3-4 occasions but we just decided to blame you since you were not there in person.  Though I know in spirit.  (Yes, blame me… I left you guys with a bunch of hot sauce packets! hahaha)

The amount of canned goods donated, beyond our normal BR stuff by the youth group was sweet. (For those just tuning in, the Navilleton youth crew periodically executes “food scavenger hunts” to gather non-perishables for the community, and they decided to dedicate a scavenger hunt to the folks at Campbell Street, having read that they recently had a lot of their canned goods stolen.)

I cannot wait to see the video of their before ride/after ride expectations.  (He did.)

Just a great AM and I could not have spent it in a better way, as always.

Major props to all the rollers, as we still have 80 burritos left in freezer after we handed out right at 300 today. I always thought giving out 300 would be tough, but since the weather was better we rode a bit more and saw some more people. (We are ALWAYS looking for more Burrito Rollers to donate, please get involved!) 

Amazing how the more we get to know this part of our community, and trust is built, they open up and share their little secrets that allow us to target helping them more efficiently.  Learned a lot today about float patterns and other church outreaches helping them. Now know why Broadway by that McDonalds was a hot spot around 11-12 timeframe;  A church bus picks them up and takes them for lunch! But mostly worship.

We also received an email from Kassie. She was one of the participating youth from St. Mary’s Navilleton.

I saw that you’ve seen the video that our youth group made, but I still felt the need to e-mail you about my experience. Although I am just a junior in high school I know that riding with the burrito riders is an experience that will stay with me for the rest of my life. Seeing how many people you guys help in one morning was unbelievable. Riding around and seeing the hardships that some people in my community face really opened my eyes and made me realize not only how fortunate I am but also how important it is to reach out to others. The impact that the Burrito Riders have on the community is truly remarkable, and I hope that I have the opportunity to help again. Thank you so much for reaching out to all those in need and providing me with this amazing opportunity.
God bless you.

Kassie, “Just a junior?” I seem to recall that high school was pretty hard work! I was incredibly touched by the video from Navilleton (have you seen it yet?) and I thought that this email was phenomenal. Thanks so much for coming, along with everyone else you traveled with. From our perspective, the youth were not only a great asset to serve with, but they really inspired the Burrito Riders that rode with them that morning. We are always congnisant of how fortunate we are, how blessed really, to be able to serve and spend time with this community. That said, we love occasions like this one, where we are able to derive a real jumpstart from seeing what we get to see through fresh eyes. It’s inspiring to see someone else react with passion to something you are yourself passionate about.

What can we say? God has blessed this ministry and we love what we are able to do through these gifts of love. Come serve with us sometime!

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Happy Birthday!

We’re This Many!

Happy Birthday to Us!

Happy Birthday to Us!

The Burrito Riders of Louisville have been blessed with an awesome experience this past week. I know, I know… I say every ride is INCREDIBLE, but srsly. 😉

Oh, and we’re an official LLC too!

First off, this past week marked our ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY, and the ‘Riders decided to go big with it: 300 burritos distributed! So, that alone would be notable, but we were also fortunate to be joined by the high school youth of St. Mary’s Navilleton out of Floyd’s Knob, IN. Let me tell you why that was so great… I don’t believe that many of these teens had ever done anything quite so “direct service” with the homeless before, and they didn’t know what to expect. Prior to the ride, they also got a hold of our blog and saw that the folks down at the Campbell Street camp had experienced a theft of all of their canned food stores. The youth decided to go door to door asking for donations of canned food to help the Campbell camp replenish. Mind you, we had no idea this was going on. They had generously offered to provide 100 burritos, in addition to their own hands and feet, and that was what we were expecting. They also brought with them more than 200 canned food items for the camp!

It actually tied together a whole famine/empathy/service theme for them. (Ethan, correct me in the comments if I’m wrong!) They were fasting themselves, so imagine a bunch of teens, hungry, making these delicious burritos and then, the next morning, still hungrier, handing these burritos out to folks who know hunger. Ethan, their youth leader, told our riders that he had made “confessional-style” videos of the kids beforehand talking about their assumptions and apprehensions about serving the homeless. After the ride he was going to have them on video again talking about their experience. I saw the video last night, and it was pretty powerful stuff. I couldn’t be more proud of those kids and how they worked with people in the community. I’m awaiting direct consent from Ethan before I post a link to share on the blog and FB page, but I can’t wait for you to see it! Here’s the video link! (The quality is “highly optimized,” but they’re sending me a higher quality file to post here.)

Also, check the blog for some ride notes from folks who were there this weekend. I should have that up today! I did not have that up that day, but today it’s coming up after this post!

So 300 burritos and more than 200 canned goods, I’d call that a pretty awesome anniversary! For those of you who haven’t read back far enough to see our “origin story,” our first ride was March 17th of last year, with six of us riding into the unknown. We had no idea what we’d find, or if there would be an audience for our ministry, but we had 10 burritos and a desire to find out. It took us every bit of three hours to give away those 10 burritos! Nowadays, we give out over 200 burritos in less than 90 minutes. Crazy.

So, looking back, it’s been a great year. I have been so blessed to find myself surrounded by folks who are passionate, generous, and loving. The folks who make the burritos, deliver the burritos, or donate to the cause, are some of the best folks you could meet. We wouldn’t BE without each one of them.

To date, the Burrito Riders have been able to give out over 4,700 burritos to people in our community. We have provided multiple bundles of heavy-weight, high quality moving blankets to protect people from the cold. We’ve rehabbed and donated 2 bicycles to folks without a way to get around. And, most importantly, we have changed a few people’s perceptions, including my own, about homelessness and the people who live with it. And this is ALL possible because of the blessings of your support and God’s love and grace.

Thank you!

Love to Ride, Live to Serve

Love to Ride, Live to Serve


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