NORTHAMPTON — The Northampton Public Faculty’s free meals program has helped Kristi Lewis and her two youngsters, 8 and 12, get by way of the summer time. When she went to the Nice Road location just lately to choose up meals, she was stunned when somebody there requested if her youngsters wanted bicycles.
They’d them previously, however her daughter grew out of her bike, and her son’s had fallen aside. The query got here from a brand new initiative, “Bikes for All,” led by the Mates of Northampton Trails that goals to get bikes to those that in any other case could not have the ability to afford them.
Lewis’ 8-year-old daughter received a motorbike two weeks in the past and, and “she rides it day by day,” she stated, and her son obtained a motorbike by way of this system as effectively.
With COVID-19 limiting exercise choices for youths and households, it’s essential to spend time outdoors, she stated, however, “a lot of households haven’t got the means to do this.” She added, “I simply suppose the train facet of it’s essential. Quite a lot of youngsters are sitting at residence.”
The pilot venture has supplied bicycles to than 25 folks and is working to provide out a number of extra, stated Tom Bodo, the venture’s coordinator. The initiative is wrapping up for the season, however George Kohout, president of Mates of Northampton Trails, hopes the group can do it once more within the spring.
Protests in help of Black Lives Matter that happened regionally and nationally this spring and summer time sparked dialogue inside the path group’s board, Kohout recalled. “The entire Black Lives Matter motion form of prompted our board to have a dialogue about, what are we doing by way of serving to all communities entry the paths round Northampton? What can we do inside our group to be a part of the answer?” Kohout stated.
In speaking about racial and social justice, Bodo stated, they determined they needed to extend entry to the paths.
A lot of the bicycles went to youths, however some adults obtained them as effectively, Kohout stated. The group marketed at meals distribution websites arrange by Develop Meals Northampton, the Northampton Survival Heart and the Northampton Public Faculties. Volunteers at Develop Meals Northampton and the Survival Heart handed out flyers about this system.
The group gathered the names and heights of these wanting bikes and picked up used bikes from the group and volunteer mechanics helped repair them. Northampton Bicycle helped order elements; Velocity and Sprocket Cycle Works helped repair bicycles; and Ruthy Woodring, of Pedal Individuals and the Bike Lab, helped acquire bikes, Bodo stated. “This was actually a group venture,” he stated.
Many requested bicycles.
“We’re nonetheless receiving telephone calls,” Kohout stated. Amid the pandemic, there’s an elevated need to frolicked outdoors, Bodo stated. “The demand for bikes is excessive,” he stated. “The availability for bikes is definitely fairly low, and lots of people don’t have the cash to purchase a motorbike.”
Together with the bikes, folks received helmets and lights for night time driving, and path mates group plans to carry fundamental bike security and upkeep courses when it’s protected to take action.
Greta Jochem may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.