Bikes for the World

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Featured Volunteer: What Moves Us?

Jim Mitchell. Bikes for the World's Featured Volunteer of August is a valuable part of what keeps us moving. And he's inspiring too!

We met Jim a decade ago when his church was collecting bikes to be sent overseas. Back then he was just a volunteer with the Wesley Freedom United Methodist Church and St. Joseph Catholic Community annual collection. For the last six years he's been managing it.

"They have had huge collections together! I've filled up 26' trucks, one time I came in a 16' and had to leave some (bikes) and come back later in the week." Keith Oberg, Director BfW

Wesley Freedom collections have brought in bikes that could fill over three containers the last decade. Jim assisted previous manager Lou Rimbach before Lou moved to the Eastern Shore and Jim took over. Between the two of them they have collected over 1300 bikes for Bikes for the World, easily netting over 100 bikes every spring.

"I believe that it is important that we give back whenever possible, globally and locally. I love cycling and I think that's why BfW is a good fit for me.  I especially enjoy helping with the loading of containers (except 3rd tiers)." Jim Mitchell

Jim has been involved with Bikes for the World at every level. He appreciates the importance of a bicycle and what it can do to help change lives. He also understands the importance of volunteering as an individual and a community.

Besides mentoring volunteers at the Wesley Freedom UMC collection, Jim has regularly been involved with our volunteer night at King Farm. He claims it's mostly processing bikes and 'socializing', but he's also joined us for loadings. Jim has shared his insights and skills with many younger volunteers coming through King Farm. His role as mentor is valued in the organization.

Jim has also helped us at events such as the Stop, Swap, and Save in Westminster where he helps spread the excitement about Bikes for the World. And when he's not wielding a pedal wrench you might find him with a loaded truck and trailer, picking up bikes at Race Pace Bicycles.

Jim recently retired from Howard County Public Schools where he was serving as the Supervisor of Transportation. His professional logistics and management expertise have certainly helped organize our Baltimore area pick ups.

But where those skills are put to even better use, is with Jim's other passion,the South Carroll Food Pantry. Here Jim helps coordinate the distribution of over 8,000 lbs of food each month. The Pantry has also donated paper products, such as diapers, household products, and even some children's books.
We appreciate the work Jim does with Bikes for the World, whether he is mentoring young people at King Farm, picking up bikes from shops in Howard County, or having fun at a DICK'S Sporting Goods event. It's all an important part of what we do.

But we also salute the work he does outside BfW. In addition to his critical role in Carroll County feeding people in need, Jim has also been involved with storm disaster relief  for the past two decades. After Katrina hit in 2005, Jim spent eight months in Mississippi helping victims rebuild their lives and communities.

Jim stands by his word, he IS giving back globally AND locally.

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