Pedaling for a Purpose: Bike Ride to Benefit United Methodist Children's Home

Mark Lambert
May 12, 2023

Folks at First United Methodist Church in Deridder and their friends will be rolling through Beauregard Parish in Southwest Louisiana for a good cause on Saturday, May 20, and they’d like you to join them. 

The Circles on a Mission bicycle ride and walk are raising money for the Methodist Children’s Home of Southwest Louisiana, a residential care facility for children who cannot live with their families, in foster care, or in group homes because of significant emotional or behavioral issues. 

Bike riders can choose an 8-mile, 23-mile, or 50-mile morning bike ride along rural roads, highways, and city roads, depending upon the length of the ride. Those who prefer to walk will have a 1-mile guided stroll through historic downtown Deridder. 

All the bicyclists and walkers will assemble at FUMC Deridder, 406 Shirley St., for the 8 a.m. start. Anyone can pre-register at the event web page or show up on Saturday, May 20, to register on-site. 

Volunteers will staff stations along all routes with water and snacks for the riders, and support vehicles will monitor the routes to give aid and assistance to riders. And no one needs to be in a hurry because the first-time event is not a race.

Instead, Circles on a Mission is more of a celebration of fellowship, a way to appreciate the rural beauty of Beauregard Parish, and a fun way to raise money for the children’s home in Sulphur, said Rev. Laraine Waughtal, pastor of FUMC Deridder. 

“These kids have been through severe trauma,” she said. “This is the only home that has these kinds of kids who have been through these situations. We do things for them throughout the year, put together hygiene kits, let them know we’re thinking of them and praying for them.” 

When the riding and walking are done, all routes lead back to FUMC Deridder, where participants and volunteers will enjoy music and a lavish spread, said Susan Smith, event coordinator. 

“Red beans and rice, cornbread, vegan pasta salad,” Smith said, “…sandwiches, bread pudding, banana pudding…” 

“My favorite!” Rev. Waughtal interjected. 

The bike and walk event also is the kickoff for a week of bike events at FUMC Deridder. Church members can saddle up on Sunday after service for a bike ride around Deridder, led by Rev. Waughtal. Different routes will be added on Monday through Wednesday and on Friday, May 26, all of which are known as “the journey.” 

On Thursday, May 25, at 5 p.m., the church will stage its annual Last Day of School bike ride for all children at the Wesley Campus, 701 N. Texas St. Older children and families can take a 5-mile route, while the younger children have a ½-mile route. 

“The really small kids come out with their tricycles, so we let them go around the block,” Rev. Waughtal said. 

After the bike ride, everyone congregates back at the Wesley Campus for free hot dogs, drinks, and music. The event is free, but all donations will go to the Women in Faith group, which disperses donations to various charities, including a women’s shelter and food closet. 


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