Chefs Cycle for No Kid Hungry is on the verge of an achievement that many would not have thought possible.Memorial Day weekend was a key training milestone, with extended time for long rides. One thing that struck me is just how much the challenges of this ride parallel the challenges we face ending childhood hunger. The chefs who are riding in Chefs Cycle will raise an incredible amount of money that will enable us to feed millions of kids. But more important, they are demonstrating qualities invaluable to our No Kid Hungry campaign.
Much of my time on the bike this weekend felt great. But some was not so great. High winds on several stretches slowed my progress to a crawl. There were a few construction site detours. My chain needed to be oiled. I ran out of Gatorade before I finished. Toward the end of one long ride my legs were just out of gas and the left knee that I thought would bother me was nothing compared to my right quad.
Every path has variables and adversities whose specifics may not be predictable but that are guaranteed to surface. We see the same in our efforts to advance No Kid Hungry. A new governor comes into office who is not as supportive as the last. A school food service director vacancy goes inexplicably unfilled for months. A funder we counted on gets fickle and directs their money somewhere else. Everything takes longer than anticipated.
There are dozens of reasons to say we’ve gone as far as we can go, just as there are dozens of reasons for getting off the bike. Many are valid. All of them get you to the same place: somewhere short of the goal. Perhaps the greatest challenge, whether on the bike or in our work, is the ever present doubt, second guessing, and fear of not accomplishing what you committed, publicly, to do.
That leaves one indispensable quality which is what Chefs Cycle and No Kid Hungry are all about: persistence. I always envision our No Kid Hungry team as walking on to the field just as everyone else who has tried but failed is walking off. I think of Chefs Cycle going a distance that no one else thought could be accomplished, doing what Josh Wachs, our Chief Strategy Officer, insists upon in No Kid Hungry state campaigns: “getting all the way to done.”Participating chefs are not only raising money but personifying the role of persistence in teaching, inspiring and leading. That’s what gives me confidence we will succeed in achieving No Kid Hungry.