Bikes for the World

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

From The Peak To The Coast

The Peak bike collection May 2016
While the rain wasn't letting up in the DC area, the skies were shining down on our collection effort in Apex NC. This first time partnership with The Peak United Methodist Church brought in over 100 bikes that were diverted to our Carolinas project based out of Charleston SC.

Combining bikes collected last year at Cape Fear Academy on the coast, this past weekend's collection brings our total in Charleston to over a half a container's worth. Fingers crossed, we will be able to load our first full container of bikes from this warehouse in South Carolina by the end of the year.

Cape Fear Academy 2015 collection
Carolina area coordinator Paul Keefer is driving this effort in Charleston SC (literally). He has been up to visit our warehouse outside DC several times to monitor our operations to ensure a successful 'spoke' site along the coast.

After securing the warehouse location, Paul shifted gears to recruit area managers to host bike collections much like we do in the DC area. He has connected with several Rotary Clubs and faith communities to start the dialogue on the next steps.

Meanwhile, we helped hook him up with long time partner Cape Fear Academy who used to collect bikes and drive them all the way up to us in DC (or Richmond, where we met them to take the truck the rest of the way). Diverting these bikes down the coast generated some excitement over the Carolina effort that would keep donated bikes on the coast so they could load and ship a container from their area. Now all Paul needed was more bikes.

Courtesy The Peak
And when Pastor Kyle Meier contacted us last year from The Peak, we struggled to find the best way for them to get involved with Bikes for the World. Located a good distance from Charleston SC, we didn't immediately make the connection with Paul and our warehouse there. And we just couldn't find a way to support a collection so far from home and at such a busy time to boot.

Meanwhile Pastor Kyle really wanted to mobilize his bike ministry to do even more than they already were. The Peak's bike ministry accepts bike donations throughout the year which they fix up to give back to their community. In total, The Peak refurbishes and redistributes over 100 bikes a year (in addition to all the other great work the congregation does).

Courtesy The Bicycle Man
The Peak joined forces with Fayetteville's The Bicycle Man, a local organization that fixes up bikes and gives them to local families in need. The organization was started by Moses Mathis and after his passing, his widow Ann Mathis wanted to keep his spirit alive through this generous effort. In need of several hundred more bikes before Christmas 2015, Ann put out the plea for bikes and The Peak answered. Last November The Peak's bike ministry collected and donated 157 bikes to The Bicycle Man.

Fast forward to April 2016, when Kyle revisited his dream of collecting bikes to send around the world. He again contacted Bikes for the World and the stars aligned. With a little planning and coordination, BfW Director Keith Oberg worked with Paul Keefer, who was itching to really get this Carolina effort going. He agreed to drive all the way up to Apex NC, collecting bikes along the way to help support Kyle and The Peak.

Paul Keefer, Ann Mathis, Kyle Meier
And The Bicycle Man came back to help too. These two bike groups focused on donating bikes within their own communities saw a bigger cause they could contribute to and wanted to make that global difference.  Back in November during the local donation Kyle said, "This is just one of the ways in which we hope our church can be a blessing to our town and our community." After the outpouring of help, they saw there were more than enough bikes to go around and committed to collecting bikes for Bikes for the World.

The Peak joined some long running BfW partners as well as a few brand new ones from NC to Cumberland MD in what became our biggest collection weekend of the year. Despite the rain in our area, we collected over 700 donated bikes from half a dozen sites in just two days. This past weekend beat our previous biggest weekend, April 30, by over 50 bikes.

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