Your old bicycle might mean everything to an Arizona child in foster care. Here’s why.
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - For many Arizona kids in foster care, a bike is more than a fun toy. It can serve a greater purpose.
“Everyone remembers their first bike, don’t they? It’s a memory that lasts a lifetime,” Diane Low, the volunteer coordinator for Recycle Your Bicycle, said. You can help Recycle Your Bicycle give kids in foster care that memory and much more.
“These kids are so excited because [a bike] means freedom to them,” Low said. “It means they’re normal, like everybody else in their neighborhood. Other kids have bikes; they want a bike, too.”
“Even when kids get older, it’s their transportation to their job or to their school because a lot of foster kids can’t get driver’s licenses or insurance,” she continued.
This gift helps the kids’ foster families, too.
“A lot of these families have several kids,” Low said. “So, they’ll pick up three, four, maybe even five bikes, and they are just overwhelmed with this gift. I mean, bikes are expensive - even more expensive now than they have been in the past since the pandemic - so they’re just thrilled.”
The Arizona Association for Foster and Adoptive Parents, which created the Recycle Your Bicycle program, is volunteer-based. They rely on community volunteers to help fix the donated bikes.
“We do a triage when the bike comes in, and we make a decision on whether it needs to be something that requires a lot of mechanical work, light mechanical work, or just detailed,” long-time Recycle Your Bicycle volunteer George Lopez explained. He and other volunteers refurbish hundreds of previously loved bikes to like-new condition.
“We have a job for everybody,” he continued. “Scrubbing these [bikes] takes a little bit of work. You use your little toothbrushes, and you clean the crevices. If you are mechanically inclined, we encourage you to come and become a bike mechanic is what we call them, or a heavy mechanic, and we supply the tools.”
Arizona’s Family and Arizona Lottery Gives Back have teamed up with the Associations for Foster and Adoptive Parents for this year’s Recycle Your Bicycle campaign. The organization’s big donation day is Saturday, Aug. 27. You can donate a new or gently used bike at five locations throughout the Phoenix area.
You can donate money securely online if you don’t have a bike but still want to help the Recycle Your Bicycle program. That money will go towards buying parts to repair any used bikes. Your time is valuable, too. You can sign up as a volunteer to help refurbish the bikes.
What kind of bikes does Recycle Your Bicycle need?
The short answer is all kinds. AZAFAP serves kids of all ages so they need bikes of all sizes.
- 12-inch for kids 2-3 years old
- 16-inch for kids 4-5 years old
- 20-inch for kids 5-8 years old (most commonly requested)
- 24-inch for tweens
- 26-inch for kids 12 and up (biggest need)
- Click here to buy a bike!
Where to donate (Saturday, Aug. 27, 8 a.m.-1 p.m.)
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