Village Bicycle program donates the gift of transportation to those in need

Volunteers from the Village Bicycle Cooperative and Salvation Army with a few of the 28 bikes donated to those in need. Photo by Donna Wilson

On a bright, crisp October day, Village Bicycle Cooperative donated 28 refurbished bicycles with new locks and lights to the Salvation Army on West 125th Street and Lorain Road in Cleveland as part of VBC's Fix-It-Forward program. After talking with Captain J.R. Fritsch, corps officer at the Salvation Army,  I learned that many adults cannot afford bus passes and these bikes will provide the necessary transportation to their jobs, education, medical attention and other resources. For children, the bikes will provide them with exercise, transportation to school and other fun activities.  

I was lucky to be there and see VBC donate a bright blue Huffy bike to a very happy Joanne Helmich, a cafeteria worker at Salvation Army. To think that this program can impact an adult or a child’s life is impressive. Do you remember your first bike? I remember my joy at receiving my aunt’s bike when I was 13! That is when I learned to ride and I am thankful that she gave me the bike. It definitely opened up the neighborhood for more adventures!

The bikes donated are part of the VBC program which refurbishes the bikes to make sure they are in safe working condition with good brakes and tires. Bob Piccirilli, board member of VBC, said the goal for this year is to donate 80 bikes to charitable organizations during the holiday season so the less fortunate will be able to get a bike for the holidays.   

The Fix-It-Forward program is all volunteer based, with volunteer ability levels range from very knowledgeable to novices. The program is designed to increase VBC volunteers' skills as well as support their philanthropic mission by helping people in need.  Thanks to Captain J.R. Fritsch, James Nealing and Dionte Williams from the Salvation Army and Carl Gonzalez, Bob Piccirilli, Bob Fleig, Bill Abbott, Patrick McGannon, Gary Ollie, Colleen Bumba, Max Gruber, Jennifer Smillie, Justin and Andy May, Brian Klueber and John Graber from VBC who donated time and energy to refurbish and deliver the bikes!

If you would like to get involved and better the life of someone, please consider volunteering at VBC. That bike you fix could put a smile on a face! Volunteer training nights and Fix-It-Forward nights are usually held on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays on the ground floor of the Bay Village Community House at 303 Cahoon Road. Or perhaps you would like to make a cash donation to support this program. Your donation dollars will go to providing every child under 10 with a helmet, and every older child and adult with a helmet, lights and lock.

We thank you in advance for supporting this program either through time or dollars. To find specific volunteer times or to make a donation, visit our website at

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Volume 7, Issue 21, Posted 10:11 AM, 11.03.2015