18th annual Holiday Bike Drive is a success thanks to our volunteers
By Melinda Musser, Communications & Marketing Manager
Last Sunday, over 375 children and their families convened at Legacy Emanuel’s beautiful and surprisingly sun-filled atrium to earn bicycles, helmets, and safety education. The Holiday Bike Drive is the culmination of a year of work by more than 500 volunteers who dedicate over 5,000 hours to clean and refurbish bicycles donated by generous members of our community.
This weekend, we celebrated the 18th year of Holiday Bike Drive. Those that have worked or volunteered at the event more than once know that each year is filled with unique stories. Every year, we see more of our community program participants connected to the Holiday Bike Drive and we recognized many familiar faces on Sunday.
- One Create a Commuter graduate shared the joy and passion he has for bikes with his grandson who earned a bike.
- Two members of Hacienda’s bike committee, Andando en Bicicletas en Cully (ABC), helped facilitate lessons at the helmet-fitting station to children participating in the Holiday Bike Drive.
- A young boy earned a bicycle and will now join his sister (a Bike Club graduate) and mother (a Create a Commuter participant) in riding around New Columbia together.
- Another member of ABC attended the Holiday Bike Drive with her two children who will now be able to ride with their mother to school, to the store, and around the Cully neighborhood. Whenever possible, we ensure that our events and programs are interconnected so that families gain the skills and tools to ride together.
Randi, our Volunteer and Outreach Manager, skillfully orchestrates hundreds of volunteers all year long as they clean and refurbish bikes for our annual event. She shared with us her favorite memories from this year’s Holiday Bike Drive. “I was talking to a young boy who was receiving a bike after his sibling already got one. To check that he paid attention in our safety education hallway, I asked him what he is going to do to be safe on his bike. He replied, ‘My helmet straps right here (and showed me with his helmet), I look before going in the street, and if a car comes, I stop.’ Seemed like a great recap to me. When I asked him why he chose his bike, he looked at me confused. ‘Cause this is MY bike.’ It was so obvious, why didn’t I see it? He then ran over to me and gave me a big old hug around my waist. That’s because he was so small.”
Randi also spoke with a man who did not participate in the event but instead was married to a Legacy Emanuel Medical Center employee. He is a disabled veteran, struggling to find work and expressed dissatisfaction in his life. “He told me that when he came to pick up his wife at work, he was overwhelmed by the Holiday Bike Drive and all of these people working hard to get kids their bikes. He said, ‘It restores my faith in humanity. That people do all of this [pointing at the event] for these kids. It’s amazing.’” The man then expressed an interest in volunteering with the Community Cycling Center at a future Tuesday Drop-In Night.
“I would like to thank the 260 volunteers that showed up on Sunday to deliver a memorable experience for many children. You helped connect families, friends and neighbors to the joy of bicycling,” notes Mychal Tetteh, our CEO. “These are the next generation of riders here in Portland. We need to do all that we can to ensure that they continue to have access to healthy transportation options in the future. This is just the beginning for these kids!”
The pictures and smiles say it all. Here are a few highlights from the event:
For more photos, visit our Flickr page here.
We are so grateful to the dedicated community of volunteers and donors that make our work possible. It’s not too late to make a gift to the Community Cycling Center’s winter fundraising campaign. Our goal is to raise $147,000 by the end of the year and so far we’ve reached the $60,000 mark. Please consider making a gift to ensure that everyone in Portland has access to the benefits of bicycles.
We received additional in-kind support from Russell St. BBQ, Great Harvest Bread Co., Grand Central Bakery, New Seasons, Dave’s Killer Bread, St. Honore Bakery, and Nossa Familia Coffee who helped power our staff and volunteers at this event.
Photos by Greg Lee, Ben Latterell, Charles Edelson, Cassidy DeMarco, and Rohith Gunawardena