Bikes For Christ puts bicycles and Bibles into the hands of those less fortunate. Founded in 2016 by local resident Patrick (Pat) Simmons, the nonprofit serves the homeless, veterans, seniors and underprivileged children.
Pairing his passions for cycling and helping others, Simmons said, “I want to do this the rest of my life, providing transportation for those in need and sharing the Gospel.”
The recipients are striving to better their situation, and bikes provide a mode of transportation to employment, doctor appointments and more. Along with every bicycle distributed, a Bible or some other scriptural text is given to remind them that God loves and cares for them.
Bikes For Christ accepts bicycles from the counties of Hillsborough, Pinellas, Polk and Pasco and then redistributes them through several different agencies. The organization also welcomes monetary donations, as the majority of donated bikes require maintenance, and parts are needed for repairs.
With Christmas rapidly approaching, the focus is predominately on providing bicycles for underprivileged children. This holiday season will be a bit busier for Simmons as he will also be delivering bikes to children living in the Panhandle’s Bay County in mid-December.
For 38 years, Officer Mike Jones, also known as ‘Salvage Santa,’ has been repairing and gifting bikes to less fortunate children in Bay County. Unfortunately, Salvage Santa’s house and workshop were devastated after Hurricane Michael hit the Panhandle on October 10. After learning about Jones’ plight, Simmons decided to collect and deliver bikes to Bay County to ensure that Salvage Santa’s Christmas mission continues.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held for Bikes For Christ on November 8 at the Valrico/FishHawk Chamber of Commerce.
“I was extremely happy with the turn out we had for the ribbon cutting,” said Simmons. “Not only were people excited about the overall work that we do, but business owners really stepped up to offer their locations as drop off points for our holiday drive for bikes both here for the work we do in our area and to take to the Panhandle for the Salvage Santa project.”
Bikes For Christ is always accepting roadworthy bikes and monetary donations. If you would like to donate, please visit www.Bikes4Christ.com/donations or call 533-9177.