KELOWNA – They’re not elves working in Santa’s Workshop. They’re mechanics working in a Kelowna bicycle shop. But their missions are the same – making people’s lives a little brighter.
The folks at Kelowna Cycle are taking advantage of a slow time of year in the bike business to fix up some used two-wheelers for charitable donations.
The business provides free bicycles to several social services agencies for use by their clients.
“I feel very strongly by giving these bikes to the community it’ll enable people to be free, to get to places they need to get to and open up opportunities. So it’s very special for me to do this,” says Kelowna Cycle owner Pat Rosen.
Ten bikes will be donated this month and more in the spring. Some going to the Kelowna Woman’s Shelter.
“It’s important for us to create some level of normalcy for the children staying at the shelter and part of that is having a bike to ride around on, whether they’re playing or actually going somewhere. So this really helps us create that slight level of normalcy when people are in a moment of crisis,” says shelter executive director Karen Mason.
the Kelowna branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association has a pool of donated bikes for its clients. Kelowna Cycle also provides on-going maintenance.
“Having these bikes and knowing they’re in good running order and that people can experience mental health benefits that come from physical activity as a result of Kelowna Cycle’s generosity and support is invaluable to us,” says spokesperson Candace Giesbrecht.
The Kelowna Gospel Mission for the homeless is also a beneficiary of the free bicycles.
“Bus service is good but a bike is lot more convenient so it really helps our clients get to their jobs, appointments, counsellors or whatever they need to do,” says mission executive director Randy Benson
Kelowna Cycle receives unwanted bikes from its customers and then refurbishes them. Public donations for its charitable donation program are always welcome.
“For me as a business owner, it’s part of giving back to the community.” says Rosen.