Bicycle Repair Day Returns to Central Florida
Today we welcome guest blogger Rowland Kenna of Rusty’s Bicycle Recycle:
On Sunday, September 12th, Rusty’s Bicycle Recycle hosted their Bicycle Repair Day (BRD) at The Sharing Center in Longwood, Florida. 25 volunteers came out to repair bicycles for the Seminole County homeless community free of charge.
The BRD had been a quarterly event at the Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida (CHCF) since 2008 until it was halted by COVID-19 in March of 2020. The program’s return is a first for the Seminole County location at the Sharing Center.
The Sharing Center (TSC), open since 1986, provides many services to those in need in Seminole County. Those services include LifeBuilder which helps families transition from homelessness to being housed; Oasis which offers the homeless a warm shower & laundry facilities; The Pantry (which is one of the largest in the county) which helps provide food & other necessities; and their Family in Crisis program, which helps those in need to find long-term relief from poverty & food insecurity.
Rusty’s relationship with TSC goes back to 2015, when they would drop off several dozen bicycles that needed major work to be functional again. It has now grown to where TSC drops off all of their donated bicycles and then they pick up recycled bicycles from Rusty’s bike shop every week.
Another first at this BRD was providing cell phone charging to our clients while they waited to get their bikes repaired. For this we borrowed a hand made charging device that normally resides at the downtown Orlando charity, Straight Street Ministries. This 50 station charger, built into a 60-quart cooler, performed flawlessly and highlighted a need the homeless have that most of us take for granted, recharging cell phones.
Rusty’s will be back at CHCF in December (hopefully) and will have BRDs there in the winter & summer, and at TSC during the fall & spring. It is our goal to support those that depend on their bicycles for daily basic transportation and a provide service free of charge.
For this BRD, volunteers from Rusty’s, the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office Crossing Guards & Community Relations, the Florida Departments of Health & Transportation and even FBA President Courtney Reynolds came out to lend a hand.
Thanks to all for helping out and making positive change for those that are often overlooked. As our motto goes, “We are giving the homeless a lift one bicycle at a time.”