Many individuals have suffered this past year, finding themselves in situations they never could have imagined. Loss of a job, loss of affordable living — times are hard for many right now. But a bicycle can be life-changing in many ways, so Bikes For Christ needs your help this Christmas season to continue to help those less fortunate.
Bikes For Christ currently partners with over 100 organizations in Tampa Bay by supplying bicycles as transportation to the clients with whom these agencies work. Its main focus is veterans trying to overcome hardships, underprivileged children and anyone in need and trying to climb out of the grips of poverty or the situation they are in. Along with every bike it gives out, it also provides a Gospel of John, as it wants people to know that Christ cares for and loves them.
Founder Pat Simmons stated, “Christmas is always the time of year when we reach out to the community for that extra bit of help we need. Plus, we always try to do something special as well. The past three years, we have had the opportunity to send bicycles to children in Africa by partnering with The Tampa Bay Area Liberian Community Association, and we have close to 25 more on their way there this year. However, the need continues to be great here at home in our own community, so we are reaching out to ask for more assistance.”
At this time, Bikes For Christ is asking the public for donations of good, used bicycles in ‘adult’ sizes. Simmons said 85 percent of its partner organizations’ orders are for men’s bicycles, which are always the most needed. Bikes do not have to be perfect but should be as close to rideable condition as possible so repairs can be done quicker and the bikes can be in the hands and feet of those who need them sooner. The other issue hampering productivity is the lack of a much larger facility.
“We have been working out of a 12×30 metal building for the past five years and outgrew it four years ago,” Simmons stated.
Bikes For Christ has plans for a new facility that will be almost 10 times as large but is waiting on the funding to do so.
Just this year alone, Bikes For Christ has received several accolades, including the following:
• Community Service Award — Plant City Chamber of Commerce.
• Honored as one of only five nonprofits in the region for their work with children and families by Casey DeSantis and presented with a $10,000 check from the Hope Florida Fund.
• Nonprofit of the Year — The Community Roundtable of Brandon.
For more information or to make monetary or bicycle donations, visit www.bikes4christ.com.