Back in April, Favorit Cycle was looking for a community-based non-profit organization that could distribute donated bikes that it fixed up to those in need, and shortly after found one – the Ktunaxa Kinbasket Child and Youth Services Society.
Originally, the bikes that the local cycle shop fixed up were going to the Cranbrook Boys and Girls Club, but their program was so successful they no longer needed anymore bikes.
“It was after the story that you guys ran earlier this spring about us looking for a group to donate bikes to, because the Boys and Girls Club had enough bikes from the last two years,” said James McKee, owner of Favorit. That’s when the Ktunaxa society approached them.
“(Favorit) was looking for a new partnership because they’d basically given (the Boys and Girls Club) as many bikes as they could move,” said Alan Roy, social worker at Ktunaxa Kinbasket Child and Family Services Services.
Roy then went down to Favorit to talk to James and he was more than happy to start a partnership with Ktunaxa Kinbasket Child and Youth Services.
“We give the bikes to clients, clients with kids and people in the community,” Roy said.
The program has already distributed 10 bikes through the new partner.
“Because we’re an aboriginal agency, we sort of look through our population, our clients, many of them are lower income and don’t have vast amounts of money, and some of them are kids that are in care, so we try to help out wherever we can,” Roy explained.
Back at Favorit, McKee said they are always taking in bikes for the drive.
“At any given time, there’s probably 10 waiting to get fixed up to get passed on to Alan,” he said.
McKee said he likes this kind of charity work because it is so direct.
“We can fix up a bunch of bikes and know that the result is a little more local, even if you can’t measure it,” McKee said. “Over the last three years, 30 or 40 bikes have gone out, which means 30 or 40 more people are riding bikes potentially than were before. Which is a little more tangible of a result.”
He said one bike that went out a couple weeks ago was already back in for repairs.
“It was obvious that it was getting used, so that was nice,” he said. “That’s the kind of heartwarming part of it. It sounds totally corny but it is true.”
Roy said there is a big demand for the bikes, with 30 names waiting.
“We’ve got a lot of kids between six and 12, and then another bunch between 14 to 16, 17,” he said. “They’ve always been very appreciative, and personally I ask if they go by Favorit to stop and thank James personally.”
If you would like more information about getting on the list for a bicycle, contact Alan Roy at 250-489-4563.