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Season of Giving – How to help: Bikes, gear, skills, support for youth and others without

Imagine you need to get to work or school without daily expense of gas or bus fare.  Bike or bike-and-ride could be a great solution, if only you had lights and a lock.  Or imagine seeing others riding the beautiful Monterey Bay Coastal Trail and wishing you could too–if only you had a bike!

Think that’s not too common in Monterey County? Think again!

Spare bikes and gear, as well as knowledge, skills, and support, can make a big difference in someone’s life.  Used (or new) bicycles, locks, parts, pumps, tools, lights, helmets, high-vis apparel, or other bike gear are needed by youth and adults without these items right here in Monterey County.  Gift cards to local bike shops can also be donated.

December 2013

Who especially needs help now?

  1. Salinas High School students hot to be on the bike team can’t always fully realize their biking dreams. Why? Because they or their parents cannot, at this time, fit a bicycle in the budget. If you have a used or new mountain bike that is in good, serviceable condition, you may help those bicycle dreams come true. How? Three girls on the team would benefit greatly by having race-worthy bikes. For details about this co-ed team, Salinas High School Cowboys Racingclick here. Or just contact one of the coaches: Jeff Lindenthal, Head Coach – jefflindenthal@comcast.net(831) 901-6931 or Jim Warwick, Assistant Coach/Team Advisor – jimwarwick@comcast.net – (831) 262-4152.
  2. Local bike advocacy. Bike law and safety info, tips on safest routes to ride, and more are vital to more people biking. That and much more are available via the Bicycling Monterey site and projects, all provided free of charge. Contributions are needed and appreciated. Bicycling Monterey will reach its 5th anniversary in May 2014 and has not done any fundraisers; your voluntary contribution in any amount can help keep it rolling! Or, make a donation to any of four other Monterey County bike advocates. Click here for details.
  3. Gears 4 Good. “Recycled Bicycles for Those Who Need a Ride.” Steve Benes has formed a 501(3)(c) nonprofit to provide bikes for people who cannot, at this time, afford to purchase one. This provides transportation to work, school, and other destinations. He has already begun to give away the first bikes (see photo below).  Please visit http://www.gears4good.com/ and email Steve with your questions or offers to lend a hand.  Steve has collected some bikes that require work before they can be donated to those in need, and he would appreciate donations of tires, tubes, chains, and cables.  Donating effective used or new bike locks that he could provide with the bikes would be welcome too. Another important need:  Steve’s garage is running out of room, and he is looking for donated shop space. Visit http://www.gears4good.com/ and email Steve with your questions.
  4. Interim, Inc. Interim would love to have good used bikes for use by Interim residents, as well as bike locks and helmets. If the bike you have to donate needs some maintenance, contact Gears 4 Good, and ask that after they fix up the bike, they pass it along to Interim. (Gears 4 Good has provided numerous bikes to Interim.)  Interim provides affordable housing and support for adults with mental illness.  Interim’s residents are all low-income adults with psychiatric disabilities.  Many don’t drive or don’t have cars, so they use bikes to get to the store, to work, to doctor appointments, and to visit friends. Phone Susan Alnes, the Development and Communications Director at 831-646-2220, ext. 306 with questions or to make arrangements to drop off bicycles.
  5. Safe Place for Youth needs a used or new bicycle parking rack, and would also appreciate donations of new bike helmets, locks, and lights . Contact Vincent Delgado, co-director of Safe Place, with your questions, ideas, and offers to help; by email – vincent AT chservices DOT org – or by phone, 831-373-4421.  For history, see 2010 Weekly story below.
  6. Rancho Cielo Youth Campus. Click here to read about Luciano Rodriguez’s progress with bringing bicycling to Monterey County’s underserved and at-risk youth at Rancho Cielo, and what help is still needed.
  7. John Clark of the First Presbyterian ChurchSteady Job, Steady Life” program.  John is in touch with many local bike-related needs and can see that your donation will be put to best use.  Reach John Clark via http://www.fpcmonterey.org 831.373.3031. First Pres is a bike-friendly faith community! (Photo of truck full of bikes, below, was taken at First Pres.)

Photo below courtesy of Gears 4 Good:  “This East Salinas resident is doing some wonderful work in her community, engaging the youth to participate within their community and stay out of gangs.”–Steve Benes

Photo: I just dropped off three bikes to a woman who is doing some wonderful work in her community.  She lives in East Salinas and is engaging the youth to participate within their community and stay out of gangs.  They are working on a bike-related event in the next few months, and hopefully I'll be able to join them.

 

Don’t have a bike or gear to donate? You can still help.

Maybe you don’t have bikes, accessories, gear, or money to donate, but you have time and skills to share.  Some of these organizations also need help in teaching:

See “Getting on the right path” regarding the need for more bike repair and maintenance instructors at the Monterey County Youth Center, to allow class sizes to expand.

See “Salinas Youth and Others for Bikes:  Bikes Make Life Better,” then jump down to subheader “A dozen ideas to help get youth on bikes.”

Contact Mari with questions, or for more ideas.

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Special thanks to Luke Shenefield for donating five bicycles to Safe Place in response to the request below, which originally appeared on this site in December 2010.  You’ll often see Luke and his wife, AnnMarie, and their children on bikes about town. Luke is a veteran cyclist of Team Roaring Mouse.

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Bikes for at-risk, runaway, and homeless youth

Christian and others are well aware that many people in our community don’t have the option of shopping, or biking.

There are many fortunate kids in our community who not only have their own bicycles, they also have strong families they can rely on for back-up transportation.  And there are also teenagers here who, for whatever reason,  don’ t have a parent they can call on for a ride.  For such kids, a bicycle can especially be a godsend!

Donate a new or used bike or accessories directly

If you’d like to donate bikes to some bike-less members of our community, consider donating a new or good used bike to Safe Place. Visit the Safe Place website to learn how they serve local youth:  http://www.chservices.org/youth_services/youthservices.html Perhaps you’ve read about them in the Monterey County Weekly’s story on “Invisible Children.”

Safe Place also welcomes donations of bike lights, locks, helmets, high-visibility apparel, tire-patch kits and basic bike tools, or other accessories.  See Personal Safety for a few ideas.

Plenty of bike accessories available for Safe Place youth, and others, inside Aquarian Bicycles, downtown Monterey.

If you need to shop for new items to donate, visit any of the Monterey County bicycle shops. Our local bike shops and services can also help you tune up a good used bike so it’s in tip-top condition before you donate it to Safe Place; prices for servicing bikes are usually very reasonable.  You may call Safe Place at (831) 373-4421 to make arrangements to drop off your donations.

Donate a gift card for a local bike shop

Too busy?  Call a local bike shop and use your debit or credit card by phone to have a gift card for Safe Place waiting for them at the bike shop.  A Safe Place staffer could later come by and choose what’s most needed.   Safe Place is near the downtown tennis courts and Jacks Park, and it is also close to the Monterey Sports Center.  There is a bike shop very closeby–Aquarian at Bay Bikes, which would be especially appropriate to patronize if you are purchasing a gift card for Safe Place.

Season of giving

Thanks to Christian Daniels, volunteer bell-ringer for the Salvation Army, for taking time out today to help our community. You may want to check out the Salvation Army’s free iPhone app that allows you to be a Salvation Army virtual bell-ringer.  In my childhood years, my parents would place boxes of reusable clothing and other goods on the porch regularly for the Salvation Army pick-up. In 2002, I became aware of the extent of this organization’s good work when a beloved elder and his family benefited greatly from the local Salvation Army’s adult day care setting.

When you’re out doing holidays errands, please pause and support the Salvation Army or other local charities. As I’m sure you’re aware, there are many folks who not only don’ t have the money to go shopping, or a bike to go biking, their needs for basic necessities are urgent.

As Christian can attest:  The best parking at the Monterey Post Office is for people who bike–it’s right at the front door!  Most PO patrons who come by car can find  it challenging to park.  As you can see from the long line stretching into the box lobby, there were many people at the PO on this day, waiting their turn to have the hard-working staff help them get those Christmas gifts en route to loved ones.

In any season, shop by bike–or bike-and-ride

Maybe you’d like to bike for some of those holiday errands, but you just aren’t sure.   Check out this site’s shopping-by-bike section.  If you’re wondering about the chance of rain, see “Biking through the Seasons.“  And whether for a rainy-day back-up plan or just because you live too far from the places you need to get to, consider bike-and-ride options.

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More ideas for where to contribute 

Consider donating time or resources to support the Bicycling Monterey website and projects.  Click here to learn more.

For general interests, check out Monterey County Gives, a project of the Monterey County Weekly; and Operation Christmas Cheer, a project of the Monterey County Herald.

Happy holidays!

 

Portions of this post were originally published 2009-2010. Some sections have been updated, or new material added, in 2011, 2012, and 2013.

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