Children are ready to ride the bicycles they received from Free Bikes 4 Kidz Detroit and its network of community organizations.

Children are ready to ride the bicycles they received from Free Bikes 4 Kidz Detroit and its network of community organizations.

Photo provided by Emily Milobar


Community, charity collect and donate bikes to those in need

By: Kara Szymanski | Shelby - Utica News | Published October 8, 2021

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SHELBY TOWNSHIP — A local nonprofit and the local community recently worked together to collect unwanted bicycles to donate to children in need. Now they will be fixing them up and distributing them to those children.

The Piston Group and nonprofit Free Bikes 4 Kidz Detroit partnered with Home Depot to collect and refurbish bikes for children in need from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Oct. 2. The community donated used bikes at the Shelby Township Home Depot located at 8760 26 Mile Road.

Throughout the collection day, Free Bikes 4 Kidz Detroit picked up the donated bikes and transported them to a 30,000-square-foot warehouse in Detroit, owned by the Piston Group, where they will be stored, cleaned and refurbished.

Bob Barnes, executive director of Free Bikes 4 Kidz Detroit, said that the organization wants every child to experience the fun of riding a bike for the first time.

“Our mission is to help all kids ride into a happier, healthier childhood by providing bikes to those most in need. Over the last three years, we’ve helped almost 5,000 kids in the Detroit area get a bike and a new helmet. This year, we’re hoping for a great turnout on collection day because we’re striving to match that by collecting 5,000 bikes in one year alone. After collecting and refurbishing the bikes, we give them away through a network of community organizations, churches and schools. It’s so special to see the absolute joy on kids’ and teens’ faces when they receive their bikes on giveaway day,” he said in an email.

The Piston Group, a business enterprise whose founder, chairman and CEO is former Detroit Pistons star Vinnie Johnson, in collaboration with Free Bikes 4 Kidz Detroit, was calling for volunteers of all skill levels to help clean and repair donated bikes as part of the annual FB4K bike giveaway.

James Edwards, manager of brand marketing of the Piston Group and a former Detroit Pistons star, said volunteering is a great opportunity for organizations or companies to help children in the Detroit area.

Each bike collected will be refurbished by volunteers before being donated to families in need. Each bike will be donated with a new bike helmet, just in time for Christmas. Interested volunteers can sign up for a three-hour volunteer shift at https://fb4kdetroit.org/volunteer.

Barnes said giveaway day in December is one of the happiest days of the year.

“It’s so great to see the absolute joy on kids’ and teens’ faces when they receive their bikes. Parents and volunteers are smiling all day,” said Barnes.

Johnson said the Piston Group’s collaboration with Free Bikes 4 Kidz Detroit is an important priority for the company and the community.

“We need hundreds of volunteers over the next three months, to help get the bikes ready. It’s a perfect opportunity for organizations or companies looking for a positive, charitable, team-building activity,” Johnson said in a prepared statement.

For COVID safety, volunteers will be asked to complete a brief health survey upon arrival and will need to wear a mask during their shift.

For more information, visit FB4KDetroit.org.

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