West Philadelphia nonprofit refurbishing bikes to give to essential workers

Reduced service on buses, trains, and trolleys has made it challenging for essential workers to get to work. In addition to safety concerns about the lack of social distancing.  In response, a West Philadelphia non profit is collecting and refurbishing old bikes, and getting them into the hands of essential workers for free. 

“Folks that work in urban farms have reached out,” said Jessica Waters, the executive director of Neighborhood Bike Works. “We’ve also had some healthcare workers, a lot of grocery store employees, pharmacy employees.” 

Neighborhood Bike Works has already gifted six essential workers a new set of wheels. Now the community is calling for more. 

“When we first launched this program we thought maybe we will get 100 people that respond to this, and we have 307 requests to date that have reached out. So obviously we have hit upon a need,” said Waters.  

Most of the bicycles have come by private donations, including one man who came all the way from Maine to the shop at 3939 Lancaster Ave. 

“And he actually drove 15 bikes down from Maine to donate," Waters added.

Tom Leakan came out of his way from Somerdale, New Jersey, after his wife saw the plea on social media. They want to do their part during the pandemic: “Just play it forward. We had the bikes, we weren’t using them. Hopefully someone who is less fortunate can have that opportunity can now use them.” 

The nonprofit is offering free bikes to both essential workers and guardians of their youth graduates. Their main goal is to help young people, offering paid jobs like a bike mechanic. 

As for this program, their goal is to give seven to 10 bikes each week. Donors can drop off bikes at the shop on Thursdays from noon to 5 p.m. People selected to receive a free bike can pick them up on Tuesdays and Sundays.


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