by Ross Willard, Founder and President
Wow! It’s amazing what a year can do! The 2020 pandemic caused many businesses to shut down permanently, but thankfully at Recycle Bicycle Harrisburg (RBH), we thrived because of the tremendous support of our donors and volunteers! Since most essential workers who used mass transit needed a replacement form of transportation – the bicycle was the logical solution. The bicycle allows for social distance, zero fuel costs and independence. RBH is committed to safe, reliable, affordable, and environmentally friendly transportation – the bicycle.
RBH shut down until guidelines were established and at first, we helped people without utilizing the shop. For example, an essential worker’s bicycle broke in Mechanicsburg. One of RBH’s volunteers from Mechanicsburg secured a temporary replacement for the essential worker while the repair was done at the volunteer’s home. Our volunteers put in over 3,500 hours in 2020 repairing over 1,300 bikes and making others ready to give away.
Once we were able to open the shop, we monitored and adjusted accordingly, such as distanced repair stations, temperature checks and mandatory masks. Emphasis was placed on maintaining social distance, while at the same time tending to the bicycles. Often a “please wait over there” was heard from under a mask. Support kept coming through the doors. The unexpected changes of the pandemic brought new ways for RBH to adapt to those in need.
All this while the building was being renovated under the supervision of Jim Uber and the united efforts of many others. We were blessed to have electrician, Les Seacrist from Habitat for Humanity, volunteer at RBH according to his schedule, to get the building up to code. Not only did RBH restructure the building but also we restructured our board of directors to bring a level of professionalism that we never imagined.
Moreover, RBH was able to continue to giveaway 2,100 bikes. We distributed trailer loads of bikes to local agencies and we shipped multiple loads of bicycles overseas. With 700 children’s bikes going out at Christmas.
Wow! – what a year – and we have something that I have never had before – an official occupancy permit and RBH can lay its head down at night at its permanent home.
Thank You for Keeping the “Wheels Moving”
Recycle Bicycle Harrisburg had a successful 2020 Matching Fund Challenge that generated $29,000! We had generous donors offer a $10,000 match. Our goal was to meet that match before the end of the year and our dedicated donors exceeded our expectations with their generosity. Your funds have helped bring life to our new building inside and out. We invite you to visit us at our new home.
It is your generosity and belief in our mission that enables us to perform this work, and we are deeply grateful for your partnership. Recycle Bicycle Harrisburg continues to grow and to improve our support for our community.