A new nonprofit dedicated to donating bicycles to the homeless is already seeing success. The Wheels Project launched less than a month ago, and they have already delivered two bikes, complete with personalized packages, to those who need it most.
Bicycles are one of the most in-demand items for people looking to overcome homelessness, but finding one in good condition can be a challenge. The Wheels Project aims to end that problem.
Wheeling in the second brand new bike to a lucky recipient at City Rescue Mission, The Wheels Project creator Lisha Dunlap feels like she is on a roll.
“We’ve got a water bottle. We’ve got some lights for you to put on it, so that you can see at night,” she tells Delbert Ray as she hands him a new backpack filled with accessories.
Ray recently graduated the drug rehab program at City Rescue Mission, allowing him to get hired at a manufacturing plant. The problem is, his late night job is ten miles away.
“I don’t get off until after 12 o’clock,” Ray says. “I need the ride back.
Case workers say Ray's story is common. As they identify clients who are trying hard to get on their feet, a pair of wheels helps immensely.
“We can get them moving on to the next piece, so they’ve already started dealing with their homelessness,” says Dunlap. “They’ve already started the process of doing more for themselves, but now they need to get where they need to go.”
Dunlap's original goal was to collect enough to donate monthly, but community support so far has encouraged her to shoot for a weekly giveaway.
The Wheels Project gave away the first bike last week to a Curbside Chronicle vendor with a new job at Sonic, and others are already lining up to ask if they qualify.
Dunlap says, “It’s really cool that there are two different organizations with two different types of programs, but still the same need.”
Ray's need is now a little less, as he looks forward to success. “I got a job, a bicycle, still saving up for a place to live,” he says.
To help The Wheels Project with their next bike donation, click here.