Throughout the year, volunteers collect, repair, clean, and maintain hundreds of bicycles to be given out along with as many toys, hats, gloves, and other gifts to the children on Christmas Eve Day. It is a labor of love that God has called a few to accomplish faithfully.
Over the past 40+ years of the ministry, many of these children have grown up and said, “You don't remember me, but when I was a little kid, your ministry was the only one who brought me and my family a bicycle and gift for Christmas.” It is a memory that lasts a lifetime, and it was all because of Jesus!
Throughout the year, a small group of steadfast volunteer men regularly get together on Thursday nights between 7 and 10 p.m. to repair bikes, and sometimes come in by themselves on other days. Many of the bikes are in bad shape, and the most skilled men do those. People with fewer skills air up tires, straighten seats and handle bars, and so on. It requires a lot of dedication and perseverance to commit to that many hours a year – resulting in about 700 or 800 bikes being repaired at the present rate.
However, the repair part of the ministry is also open to women and children. Even if someone has no skills in mechanical repairs, we will teach you how to begin by such things as putting air in and changing tires, how to loosen and tighten nuts and bolts and adjust a seat or handle bars, test driving a repaired bike, and so on. We were all born not knowing anything and anyone who knows how to fix things had to learn somewhere along the line of life!
Back when the bike ministry started years ago, we thought it was a big deal when 2 or 3 volunteers finally reached 125 bikes! The Lord has provided these additional men as laborers for the harvest! Now, when the bikes reach about three or 400, we have to have a bike moving day to relocate them from the ministry basement to storage buildings or warehouses. Fortunately some of our volunteers own a trucking company and provide the trucks and space for free to move and store them. That gives us room to do another bunch to finish out the year.
We don’t have a church building per-se` (our street ministry works out of a basement in the bottom of an apartment building,) but at least two different denominations volunteer to help us on "bike wash day;" and many more volunteer to help on Christmas Eve day which is when we give the bikes out to the children.
"Bike wash day" is amazing as we get one or more pressure washers going full time for about 4 or 5 hours. About 30 others scrub the bikes with soap and water, try to get the main rust spots off with steel wool, and just try to make them a little nicer looking. We then have pizza for lunch, and then finish up and put away everything.
If you would like to join us in this ministry, please use the "Contact Us" link button in the side bar for email and phone information.