Class of 2022- 1k Club Inductees
Last year Bikes for the World welcomed back many of our veteran collection sites which are all led and staffed by volunteers. Many of these events were put on hold during the pandemic in an effort to keep volunteers and the public safe. The two year hiatus impacted the quality of bikes we collected more than the number since we continued to find abandoned bikes at recycling centers, police departments and condos. But we were definitely excited to see so many volunteers return in 2022 to help us collect and compact bikes for our partners around the world.
Three of those volunteer led collections worth a nod and two thumbs up have been with us since before we officially formed in 2005. And both of them are our newest inductees to our elite 1k Club...those collection sites that have surpassed 1,000 bikes donated. Drum roll please...
First up, the World Bank and IMF (and going back, the IDB who used to collaborate with this amazing team). Looking back to 2005 there have been good years and lean years, which makes last years pull into 1,000 bike territory even more impressive.
It's not always easy to host a collection event in the city...at a business...on the weekend...but when you put the World Bank and IMF team on it, they deploy a laser focus on success. This is a team who really gets what we are trying to do, in fact, they are doing even more impressive work all over the world.
This year we collected bikes during the World Bank event that were donated to Costa Rica where they have a team in country. They are currently working to explore where those bikes ended up and how they are changing lives. We tagged several of the bikes that were specifically collected at the World Bank and we also have updates on where they are now coming up in future posts.
The World Bank/IMF also supports our work through grants and workplace giving campaigns. In fact during the pandemic they stepped up and tripled their impact by matching employee contributions not once but twice. In that fiscal year the generous contributions by employees and through matches and grants made up one third of all financial contributions we received.
We skipped collections at the World Bank in both 2020 and 2021 making the results of the 2022 collection even more significant. To date, the World Bank event has netted 1,025 bikes distributed to our partners around the world. The event never has just one collection manager, there is a team of folks working to pull this off every year. They have collaborated within the organizations and also throughout the city, sometimes working with police departments or universities to secure their abandoned bikes for our program.
Also surpassing 1,000 bikes this year was Potomac United Methodist Church. This collection has changed hands a couple times including this year when a brand new collection manager took the reins for this momentous occasion. This year there was a mix of veterans alongside brand new volunteers, diversity that makes this event a success year after year. Like the World Bank, this site took a couple years off during the pandemic but came back in 2022 and broke through that 1,000 threshold with 1,029 bikes.
The latest 1k buster happened just this fall at Congregation Beth El in Bethesda when they collected their 1,034th bike for Bikes for the World. Technically they haven't missed a year yet, but 2020 tested that. Beth El did schedule a public event during the pandemic but because of the protocols they had in place to keep everyone safe, the rainy weather officially canceled the event. BUT they still had some bikes collected for us, so it totally counts in our books. There was also that year a hurricane was barrelling down on us and we were debating to go ahead or cancel...and it turned out to be a lovely day.
This past year, the crew worried they may see a dip in the number of bikes donated, but it was one of the best years ever. And the weather was simply delightful. Just after the collection at Beth El we shipped a container to our partner in Madagascar, and we just received word that those bikes arrived in Madagascar this week. They are working now to clear the container from port and transport it north to our partner where it will be unloaded. The bikes will then be inventoried and assessed and repaired before finding a new home. The bikes will provide much needed affordable transportation and also help support the co-op health initiatives in the region.