Once again, the New York chapter of Bikes For the World (BFW) is teaming up with PortFest on Saturday, May 19 on the Schreiber Campus from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. as a collection point for used bicycles.
BFW’s mission is to distribute used bicycles to Africa, Asia and Central America to transform lives by providing sustainable and affordable transportation to schools, jobs, the marketplace and healthcare facilities. BFW has distributed more than 134,850 bikes to date. This time they are again collaborating with the Wheatley Afri-Bike Coalition (WABC) from the Wheatley School, who has contributed to the collection as well as provided storage for the collected bikes.
Adult mountain bikes and one-speed cruisers are preferred, but bikes of any kind for any age and most any condition will be accepted (with the exception of scooters and tricycles). Flat tires and missing parts are not a problem. Tools, bike parts, bike manuals and books, locks, chains, helmets, mirrors, pumps and other accessories are also welcome. In addition, good quality metal portable sewing machines in working order or close to it add value to the shipment and provide productive assets for people ready to work.
Along with the bikes, bike parts, sewing machines and monetary contributions will be accepted as well. New York BFW Organizer Kenny Marx explains, “It takes about $25 per bike to get our bikes to local bike-based businesses and workshop leaders in far off developing nations, so we usually ask anyone who donates a bike to also consider giving at least $10 to help defray these costs.”
Steve Finkelstein, Wheatley science teacher and faculty advisor for the Wheatley Environmental Action Committee and WABC, actually traveled to Ghana to deliver their first shipment in 2000. He saw firsthand the power of a bicycle.
“I recall seeing a barefoot woman—with a baby strapped to her back—carry 30 pounds of coconuts in a giant bowl perched on top of her head for seven miles, from Kopeyia Ghana, over the border into Togo, to make a couple of dollars,” said Finkelstein. “Returning on a bus would eat up all her profit, so she walks back the next day, in time to fix dinner for her husband. Give a woman like this a bicycle with baskets and a child seat and you transform the lives of her entire family forever.”
Finkelstein continued, “As a teacher, it hurt to see kids who couldn’t afford 20 cents a day to take a bus to school so they continue the cycle of poverty and illiteracy. These bikes are not just a handout; they are a key to helping people to help pull themselves out of poverty. Year-to-year, our PortFest collection has resulted in a higher total of bikes collected with the 2017 collection resulting in over 160 bikes that were shipped to Africa. That collection was done in driving rain so we are striving to once more beat last years collection with favorable weather and folks spreading the word as well.”
The donation of a bike is fully tax deductible for the value of the used bike.
So clear out the garage and help change lives, one bike at a time. For additional information or questions, contact Kenny Marx at KennyMarxbikes@gmail.com.
—Submitted by Bikes For The World