Bike donations open doors for refugees in Houston

 

Refugees are ambitious, courageous and family-oriented people eager to start a new chapter in their lives and join Houston’s growing economy with its many opportunities for employment. The U.S. refugee resettlement program is designed to facilitate refugees’ successful transition to life in the U.S. and help them to attain self-sufficiency. Transportation is an immediate challenge because refugees generally don’t own cars and rely on walking and public transportation.

If you have a bike you aren’t using, please consider donating it to Freewheels Houston. After volunteers and other mission-driven mechanics repair bikes to safe, reliable condition,  we distribute them to refugees who need a better way to get to new jobs, English-language classes, shopping and other destinations.

The need is great

More than 2,200 refugees arrived in Houston last year from camps near home countries torn apart by civil war and other desperate situations—more than any other city in the United States. Resettlement agencies helped more than 7,000 other migrants seeking safety and a new start in the Houston area.

Freewheels Houston is a ministry of Christ the King Lutheran Church. We work with many in the bicycling community including in BikeHouston, Bike Barn and Rice Bikes. Resettlement agencies helping refugees in Houston–including  Refugee Services of Texas, Interfaith Ministries of Greater Houston, YMCA International Services, the Alliance for Multicultural Community Services and Catholic Charities help us identify people who need bikes. The Texas Medical Association provides helmets for each recipient.

Freewheels Houston needs bikes, volunteers and financial support to fulfill our mission. How can you help?

  • Donate your used bicycle that you are not riding: We will clean it up, perform necessary repairs and get it into the hands of a refugee.
  • Volunteer to repair bikes: We schedule work days to bring the bikes up to safe, reliable condition. It’s a good, fun way to spend a morning and do some good.
  • Contribute money: Our mechanics are pretty good at using parts from donor bikes, but we still need to buy locks, lights, baskets, tubes and other parts. We also hold events to bring together refugees and welcoming Houstonians.
  • Welcome refugees: There are many ways to help refugees in Houston through nonprofit organizations or your faith community. Freewheels Houston provides opportunities to meet and develop new friendships with our new neighbors.