The other day Gareth Pritchard received an email that made all of his organization’s hard work worthwhile.
It was from a boy in Africa who used to walk nearly 30 kilometres everyday just to attend school. But since getting help from Bicycles for Humanity he can ride to school, one of nearly 5,000 people to receive a bike from the local organization since 2006. It’s amazing how bikes that would otherwise end up in the landfill or collecting dust in someone’s basement can change a life Pritchard said.
“It’s just so simple,” Pritchard said Saturday morning as he and more than 25 volunteers packed a trailer with another 500 bikes to be shipped to Namibia, arriving there just in time for Christmas.
Thunder Bay was the second city to have a Bicycles for Humanity chapter. Now there are 40 in more than 15 countries worldwide. Just finishing up its tenth shipment, the local chapter has given more bikes than any other chapter in the world. Pritchard credits the entire region for pitching in and helping.
“The people in the region seem to really get behind the project it’s captured people’s imagination,” he said.
Volunteers ranged from retirees to school children. Entire families were there to give a hand at the group’s Simpson Street warehouse.
“It’s just humbling to see what people are doing for the project,” Pritchard said.
But the work is never done. The group is already campaigning for its April shipment. Anyone wishing to donate a bike can visit the website.
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