We all think of biking as a great way to exercise, but 67-year-old Tony Fritz found another great reason to ride his bicycle: ending world hunger. Fritz began this 1,500 mile route at the Global Aid Network (GAiN) Headquarters in Plano, Texas on June 30, and he estimates his arrival at the GAiN Distribution Center, which packages and ships food for humanitarian aid, in Mount Joy, Pa. on July 30.
Some of us may question why someone would commit themselves to this daunting task. Fritz provides a very straightforward and honest answer, “Because many people living in impoverished or war-torn areas do not have enough to eat, and because many of them die needlessly, I am raising money to send food.”
The U.N. estimates that 842 million people are suffering from hunger around the world, which is why Fritz is biking to raise awareness of this global health issue. According to Fritz, “If only one child in America died of hunger or related issue it would be a travesty and reported nationally. Tragically, it does happen thousands of times daily throughout the world and morphs into an impersonal statistic.”
Along with raising awareness, this bike ride known as the “Tour De Meals” is also a pledge-per-mile fundraiser. A mere penny given for every mile Fritz bikes equals a $15 donation, which will feed a child in need for a whole month.
In order to prepare for this 1,500 mile bike route across the country, Fritz began training indoors during the winter for at least an hour five days a week, and he rode up to 80 miles a week outside during the spring.
His hobby of bicycling with his son also helped him prepare for this long journey. Fritz has been riding bikes with his son for 15 years now, and they even planned a cross-country bike ride from San Diego to Pennsylvania together about four years ago. Although Fritz was not able to complete this 2,800 mile route, he was able to bike about 55 percent of it.
A native of Reamstown, Pennsylvania, Fritz has been volunteering at GAiN as a Food Process Manager ever since retiring as a math teacher in 2006. GAiN is a humanitarian organization that works to help the world’s poor and needy through relief and development projects in the Americas, Africa, Middle East and Central Asia.
Since its launch in 2003, GAiN has created five programs: food, agriculture, clean water, education and relief. Through its Food Program, more than 13 million meals were given to children and their families across the world in 2012. This specific program is mainly responsible for packaging projects, shipping food and providing lifesaving food aid to those most in need.
Fritz is a perfect example that anyone, by any means, can make a difference in the fight against global poverty and hunger. He sums this idea up perfectly: “There are a lot of good causes out there, a lot of things to pour your life into, and this is one of them. I don’t think everybody needs to do this, but everybody needs to have awareness of it.”
To follow Fritz’s bicycling journey across the country, read his blog and even donate to the cause. Visit TourdeMeals.org.
– Meghan Orner
Sources: Global Aid Network,, Tour de Meals, Mission Network News, Greene County Daily World, UN
Photo: Auto Europe