Order up: Bike Kitchen helps those in need
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — Lake Tahoe Bicycle Coalition is serving up used bikes to those in need.
Through the organization’s Bike Kitchen program, donations of refurbished bicycles have been made during the last year and a half to various local social services programs across Tahoe and Truckee.
“It’s really just gotten ramped up in the last year,” said Lake Tahoe Bicycle Coalition Vice President Kira Smith. “It’s been a really great program, and with every bike that we do donate, we’re giving a helmet, lights and a lock.”
Smith said Lake Tahoe Bicycle Coalition received a grant from American Century Championship for the locks, were gifted helmets from California Highway Patrol, and have had locals donate tools and time.
“All those pieces fell into place at the right time,” said Smith. “Then we decided we wanted to ramp it up.”
After receiving emails from locals about wanting to donate bikes, the Lake Tahoe Bicycle Coalition formed the Bike Kitchen and began working with local social services organizations like Tahoe Coalition for the Homeless, North Tahoe-Truckee Homeless Services, and the South Lake Tahoe Family Resource Center.
The program has been working so well, according to Smith, that Bike Kitchen now has a lengthy waiting list of people who need bikes. One hurdle has been storing old bikes along with turnover time to make repairs by the all-volunteer group.
Recently, the Bike Kitchen has held fix-up days at The Hangar in South Lake Tahoe, and plans are in place to find a location for a similar event in North Tahoe. Smith said the program eventually plans to expand to holding fix-up days once a month, along with providing volunteers to give onsite tips on maintenance and repairs to those wishing to tune up their own bikes.
Currently, the biggest need is for adult bikes, said Smith. The program is also asking for bikes that aren’t rusty or in need of serious repairs due to budget and volunteer time constraints.
Justin Scacco is a reporter for the Sierra Sun, a sister publication of the Tribune. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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