Need bigger than ever, says founder of nonprofit Bikes For Christ

DOVER, FL – Inflation and the rising cost of living make reliable transportation more important than ever, said Pat Simmons, founder of Bikes for Christ in Dover.

“Many people have suffered in the last year; they have found themselves in situations they could never have imagined – loss of a job, loss of an affordable livelihood. Times are tough for many in this moment and a bike can be life changing in so many ways,” says Simmons.

Simmons had been trying to find a way to combine his passion for cycling with a way to contribute to his community when he took a trip to Nicaragua in June 2015 with his church, First Baptist Church of Dover.

Seeing extreme poverty firsthand inspired him to launch Bikes for Christ in March 2016.

After posting on Facebook and Craigslist looking for used bikes, donations started pouring in, he said.

Currently, Bikes for Christ receives donations from four counties and redistributes them through 70 nonprofit organizations in the Tampa Bay area that have customers who need bikes for basic transportation and to get to work, including including veterans and homeless organizations.

Simmons also provides bicycles to non-profit organizations for children in need. Its philosophy is “every child deserves a bike”.

“The most important part of all of this is that those who receive bikes know that someone loves them and cares for them,” he said. “By giving, we show love, the same love and compassion that Jesus showed us.”

The non-profit organization is currently looking for help this holiday season.

“Christmas is always the time of year when we reach out to the community for the extra help we need. Plus, we’re always trying to do something special as well,” Simmons said. “Over the past two years, we’ve had the opportunity to send bikes to kids in Africa by partnering with the Tampa Bay Area Liberian Community Association and we have nearly 25 more on the way this year.”

Bikes For Christ is seeking donations from the public for good adult-sized used bikes.

“Eighty-five percent of orders placed by our partner organizations are for men’s bikes and these are still the most needed,” Simmons said.

Bikes don’t have to be perfect, but should be in good working order so that repairs can be made quickly.

Bikes can be dropped off at the following locations:

  • University Bicycle Center, 1220 E Fletcher Ave., Tampa. Phone: 813-971-2277
  • Oliver’s Cycling Sports, 18055 Highwoods Preserve Parkway, Tampa. Phone: 813-910-0207
  • Tony’s Bike Shop, 19 21st St. N, St. Petersburg. Phone: 727-537-6162
  • Tony’s Bike Shop, 7100 9th Ave. N, St. Petersburg. Phone: 727-384-6608
  • Jarrett Scott Ford, 2000 E. Baker St., Plant City. Phone: 813-752-4171
  • Beef ‘O’ Brady’s, 210 S Kings Ave., Brandon. Phone: 813-681-3428

Monetary donations are also always appreciated, Simmons said.

Donations can be made through the website or sent to the organization at Bikes For Christ Inc., 2500 AL Simmons Road, Dover, Fl 33527.

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