DeKALB – With the help of a few local Boy Scouts, more than a dozen residents of DeKalb’s Hope Haven homeless shelter have bicycles.
DeKalb Boy Scout Troop 33 continued its longtime tradition of refurbishing donated bikes and giving them to a local organization, typically Hope Haven. Scoutmaster Cliff Golden said the project started in 1996 when a Scout named Patrick McLinden put the idea in motion as part of an Eagle Scout Service Project.
“We thought that was a real good project, so we kept it going,” Golden said.
After lubricating a few bike chains, repairing tires and checking the brakes, the Scouts donated 13 bikes last week.
Michael Newman, emergency coordinator at Hope Haven, said almost all of the bikes already have been given away. They were dropped off Friday. He said the bikes are given to children and to people who need them for transportation.
“We’re so grateful for the donated bikes and grateful that we have such a great community that supports what we do over here at Hope Haven,” he said.
Golden said bikes are collected most of the year during various events. In the past, bikes have been donated to Safe Passage, an agency in DeKalb that works to prevent domestic violence and sexual assault.
When Hurricane Katrina hit Louisiana in 2005, the troop donated 60 bikes to the people affected by the hurricane. Another year, the scouts donated bikes through a Clinton Rosette Middle School counselor who helped find children who could use them.
Most years, the bikes go to Hope Haven, Golden said. In some years, the Scouts are able to donate two loads of bikes – one in the spring and the fall.
“It’s something good for the boys to learn,” he said. “Not only do they learn skills on bike repair, but they know they’re making a difference for someone.”