HOUSTON – For more than five years the Fuller Center Bicycle Adventure has stopped in Houston to eat and sleep.
But this year they hammered nails, hung siding, landscaped and built a handicapped ramp for the first Fuller Center House in Houston.
The orange-clad group has peddled through Houston each spring as part of the Fuller Center Bicycle Adventure’s 400-mile fundraising and awareness ride down Natchez Trace Parkway.
The Tanglefoot Trail and Natchez Trace make Houston a favorite of cyclist and the Fuller Center crew spent last week in Northeast Mississippi mixing business with pleasure as they had a workday Thursday on a house north of Houston.
“We had 29 cyclists in this year,” said Jessica McClain, spokesman for this year’s ride. “We’ve got people from Colorado, Nebraska, South Carolina, Illinois, Indiana and Georgia here for a workday.”
This marked the sixth year for the cyclist to stop in Houston where they were fed and housed by in the Family Life Center of Parkway Baptist Church.
“We have gotten to know several of these people who have done this trip for several years,” said Randy Rinehart, Parkway Baptist Church Pastor. “We love what they do and we have grown to love them as individuals, too. It’s a great ministry for them and for our church.”
McClain said he was told about the Houston stop when he signed on this year.
“The Houston stop is legendary on this trek,” said McClain. “Houston has a history of rolling out the red carpet for us. They feed us and take care of us so well. We learned a lot about Southern culture and hospitality from Houston, Mississippi.”
The Fuller Center Bicycle Adventure raises money for and awareness about The Fuller Center for Housing, a nonprofit affordable housing ministry. The Fuller Center was founded in 2005 by Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient and Habitat for Humanity founder Millard Fuller and his wife, Linda, as a return to the grass-roots principles of the affordable housing movement they started in the 1970s.
The Bicycle Adventure – which includes a cross-country summer ride – is The Fuller Center’s single biggest fundraiser, having generated more than $1 million for the fight against poverty housing around the world. All money raised by the riders goes directly to build and repair homes.
In the United States alone, almost two million people live with a hole in their roof, 3.7 million live with broken windows and 2.5 million live in a house where the foundation is crumbling beneath them. Just over one million people live without complete plumbing facilities.
“I’ve been doing this since 2007 and it’s a great ministry,” said Tony Campbell, a retired CPA from Detroit. “It helps people in a way other projects and programs don’t. It’s needed and it makes a difference in the lives of people every day for a long time.
“I can think of no better way to break the cycle of poverty than to take families from substandard housing and put them in a new home,” Campbell added. “The homeowner’s benefit, the children benefit and the community benefits. I urge people to check out what we are doing.”
Learn more about the Bicycle Adventure at www.fullercenterbikeadventure.org