On April 22, Rev. Scott Alexander ’71 will dip the rear tire of his bicycle in the Pacific Ocean at Costa Mesa, Calif. This symbolic act will mark the beginning of The Ride to Beat Hunger, Alexander’s month-long, 3,300-mile bike trip across the country to raise $50,000 for two hunger relief organizations.
“To be free of hunger is, I think, the first and most essential human right,” Alexander explained.
Alexander will cross 10 states, biking on average 115.5 miles daily, before concluding his ride on May 22 in Vero Beach, Fla., where he will dip the front tire of his bike in the Atlantic Ocean. The logistics and support for his ride will be coordinated by the company America By Bicycle.
An endurance athlete who regularly bikes and swims—he was involved in both swimming and tennis as a student at Lawrence—Alexander, 62, has already completed two cross-country charity bike rides. But The Ride to Beat Hunger, Alexander said, is his most ambitious effort to date. “There’s a saying, ‘Who are you benefitting by being and thinking small?’” he said. “I’ve always been someone who takes on big things.”
He hopes the ride will encourage people in Vero Beach, where he serves as a minister at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Vero Beach, to “respond to the very real problems of hunger, both locally and globally.” Of the $50,000 goal, $25,000 is designated for a local hunger relief organization, Harvest Food & Outreach Center, and $25,000 is designated for an international hunger relief organization, Stop Hunger Now.
“The values of liberal arts call us and compel us
to make a positive difference in the world.
That’s the point of a Lawrence education.”
Alexander credits his Lawrence education as the inspiration for his trip. “The values of liberal arts call us and compel us to make a positive difference in the world. That’s the point of a Lawrence education,” he said. “This ride of mine flows directly out of my liberal arts experience at Lawrence. And indeed my whole career of ministry flowed out of that experience.”
When Richard Haight ’71 and his wife, Denise Dyer Haight ’70, heard about The Ride to Beat Hunger, they wanted to be among the first to support Alexander by sponsoring the first day of the ride. “It doesn’t surprise me at all that Scott has become a nationally recognized Unitarian Universalist minister who practices what he preaches,” said Richard Haight, who has known Alexander since they were neighbors in Plantz Hall during freshman year. “[At Lawrence] he was full of energy and enthusiasm for any project he undertook. With his love of and empathy for his fellow man, Scott had a real affinity for social justice issues.”
Though he is giving back in a big way through his bike trip, Alexander said he is getting something in return. “It’s absolutely exhilarating to go through the mountains and across the high deserts and through the beautiful rolling hills of Arkansas,” he said. “And there is the satisfaction of coming back and having raised some money.”
To find more information about Alexander’s ride, watch his progress or make a donation, visit: http://theridetobeathunger.com.