3 minutes reading time (629 words)

COVID-19 Response

We hope this note finds you staying safe and healthy during these trying times. As we all deal with the Covid-19 pandemic, we wanted to let you know how Bikes for the World is adapting and responding.

To ensure the wellbeing of our staff, volunteers, and members of the public, we suspended collection and shipping operations in mid-March. As ever, we remain committed to our core mission and activities. Our staff is working actively from home, meeting jointly online, and making only necessary and occasional visits to our Rockville, MD warehouse.

Our day-to-day program focus has adapted to the current circumstances in some exciting directions. Here in the Washington, DC area, Bikes for the World has joined with Bike MatchDC, a grassroots initiative, to get bikes to essential workers in the battle against Covid-19. These individuals—nurses, doctors, grocery and other core service and health sector employees—face increasing difficulty as public transportation cuts are made. Bikes for the World has provided an initial cache of bicycles to healthcare workers, and expects to do much more in coming months. This is a particularly good use of donated bikes that are not appropriate to ship to rural areas in developing countries. Our Operations Manager, Jonathan Carney, deserves special mention for making this initiative possible.

Bikes for the World has always been about making personal connections in the community. To that end Yvette Hess, our Volunteer & Outreach Coordinator, has been working overtime to connect directly with our collection partners, volunteers and supporters to let them know that we're thinking of them. This organic approach to building relationships is what makes Bikes for the World such an impactful organization, and it's important that we acknowledge that we're all stronger when we act as one community. Over the past several years we have been working with an increasing number of youth community service partners, both individuals and institutions, and are taking this opportunity to flesh out a more defined systemic set of hands-on educational curricula. Yvette has been instrumental in bringing institutional memory and experience to the table on this initiative with an eye towards ensuring our volunteer engagement is more meaningful than ever.

As you can see, Bikes for the World is adapting to this unprecedented crisis, and is making progress while we prepare for recovery. Bikes for the World is financially ready to continue with our current activities and also preparing for resumption of collections and shipments when conditions allow. We have received an SBA loan under the recent CARES legislation, which helps make up for the loss of a spring bike collection season.

We remain in regular contact with overseas partners and have observed how their experiences and skills developed through our partnerships is enabling them to make adjustments and respond to the Covid-19 crisis in their communities. These communities will be seriously impacted by the pandemic and we are already working together to understand their needs and preparing to initiate our support quickly at the right time.

Bikes for the World has always held as a guiding principle the objective to offer hope, help people cope, and make the world better. We fully expect to return to collecting and shipping bicycles to partners overseas once it can be safely done.

By letting you know what is happening here at Bikes for the World, we wish to express our commitment to all our supporters, many of whom know our work personally and have provided generous financial support over the years. Each member of our support network is an important part of our Bikes for the World community.

We appreciate your continued support of Bikes for the World, and want to extend our best wishes for good health and safety to all.

Taylor Jones
Executive Director

Featured Volunteer: Amy Loar
Providing Support and Protection