When I started riding in 2017, it did not take long for me to realize how unique the motorcycling community is. This is a group of people who will actually pull over to help someone out who is in need — not just say that they would. I’ve seen motorcyclists host fundraisers for complete strangers after a collision out of the kindness of their hearts. They organize ride after ride for any number of causes, whether or not the cause affects them directly. Motorcyclists are a unique breed. From early on in my riding career, I knew that I wanted to help facilitate this altruism.
Motorcyclists and non-motorcyclists came together in September 2019 for International Coastal Cleanup Day. Volunteers collected more than 100 bags of trash and 30 bags of recycling in just a few hours. Photo by Ryan Handt.
Engines for Change is bringing motorcyclists together to fight food insecurity in our communities.
In late 2019, I started Engines for Change (E4C) as a way to bring motorcyclists together to make a positive impact. We started simple with a beach cleanup, having motorcyclists gather in the morning and ride together to go pick up debris. When 2020 came around, we were thrown into survival mode. Our straightforward events became multifaceted operations of delivering PPE via motorcycle, organizing charity rides, and getting on our bikes to create a nationwide voter awareness campaign, riding to drip off our own ballots in the process. Through the fog of uncertainty that was 2020, we found a silver lining: we built strong partnerships and began to find our hivemind of changemakers.
Motorcyclists ride to deliver their ballots at the Engines for Change 2020 Ride to the Polls. Photo by Erik Jutras (@mrpixelhead).
E4C volunteer Christina Davis uses her motorcycle to deliver handmade face masks to frontline workers. This photo is a still of Engines for Change’s upcoming short documentary, ‘Into the Curve,’ about motorcyclists’ COVID relief efforts at the start of the pandemic.
As we hopefully reach a stasis with regard to our global public health, we can see how the pandemic exacerbated many of our long-standing social issues. Among the most prominent that our country faces is food insecurity or the lack of consistent access to food in American households. In a normal year, one in every nine Americans suffer from food insecurity, equating to roughly 37 million people, 11 million of whom are children. With the COVID-19 pandemic, this number has surged to 54M Americans, including 18 million children. Knowing these statistics, we realized we had to do something to help.
The SF-Marin Food Bank – E4C’s San Francisco partner – separates food into family-sized packages for those in need. Photo courtesy of the SF-Marin Food Bank.
This month, Engines for Change is bringing together motorcyclists for the 2021 Ride Against Hunger, a series of food drives taking place on April 24 in 12 cities across North America. On the 24th, we will have motorcycle rides happening in cities around the country and Toronto, where riders will deliver food to local food banks and community fridges. Rides will take place in NYC, Chicago, Washington, D.C., San Francisco, San Diego, Portland, Phoenix, and Toronto, among other cities. For many of these events, we are working with other motorcycle organizations, including Ride to the Warehouse, MotoXmission, Ride My Road, Hammerheads PDX, Clutch Moto, Black Girls Ride, and the Vicious Hogs MC. Each city has partnered with a local charity that specializes in food security, and we have engaged in a friendly competition to raise the most funds and food donations on behalf of these partners. At the end of April, the team with the most donations will win an additional $250 for their partner charity, courtesy of motorcycle accessories company Hightail Hair.
Caption: New York Classic Riders leader, Hatim, drops off a food donation at the New Jersey site, Clutch Moto. Photo by [Moses Erazo].
Currently, we are accepting both financial donations on our fundraising site, as well as food donations at local drop-off points. All are welcome to attend and take part. We hope that this initiative will not only help our partner charities in their fight against hunger but will also inspire riders to learn about issues within their hometowns and use their motorcycles as tools for positive change. This is the first of many community-driven initiatives that we intend to lead, and we are always looking for partnerships, volunteers, and collaborators to help grow our E4C family.
Engines for Change is always open to partnerships, collaborations, volunteers, or fresh ideas.