The Schmidt Family
“I’ve always loved cycling. I don’t know how it started, but from when I was a young kid, I had this dream of cycling across Canada,” says Orlando Schmidt, 56, of Abbotsford, British Columbia.
For a number of years, Orlando’s dream sat on the backburner due to life and family circumstances.
However, the dream never fully left him.
“I started talking about doing a family cycling trip when our youngest son, Nathan, was out of high school. The family embraced the idea and we’ve been talking about this trip and planning it for about ten years.”
Orlando will be cycling together with children Raquel, Jayden, and Nathan and son-in-law Caleb. Orlando’s wife Vivian and daughter-in-law Kaitlyn will be driving a support vehicle.
From June 8 until August 12, the team will cycle 6,000 km from Abbotsford, B.C. all the way through to Nova Scotia and the Atlantic Ocean.
But it’s more than just a fulfillment of a dream for Orlando. It’s also an opportunity to raise money and awareness about a cause close to his heart—helping people around the world who are hungry, and he encourages people in Canada to support the work of Canadian Foodgrains Bank.
“I have had a strong interest in caring for the needs of hungry people since the early 1980s,” says Orlando. “As a young adult, I was deeply touched by media coverage of the famine in Ethiopia and decided to pursue a career in agriculture as a result.” He and Vivian volunteered with Mennonite Central Committee agriculture and education programs in Brazil in the 1990s.
The family is hoping to raise $60,000 through sponsorship of their trip, at $10 per kilometer cycled. All of the money raised will be used to help the Foodgrains Bank and their member agencies respond to the challenges of ending global hunger around the world. While cycling across the country, the family also hopes to encourage Canadians to be engaged in the issues around global hunger.
Despite his enthusiasm, the trip doesn’t come without potential challenges.
“The logistics are overwhelming at times. A few of us have some knee and back injuries that may limit us. We would appreciate prayers for health and safety along the way.”
The family will do a prelude weekend to their trip on May 25, where they will travel to Mile Zero of the Trans-Canada highway and dip their tires in the Pacific Ocean, then cycle back home to Abbotsford.
To sponsor a kilometer of the Schmidt’s trip or to follow along with their progress, visit www.foodgrainsbank.ca/cycling