When Leila and Romeo received bikes from our partner Bikes for the Philippines they didn't realize they were becoming part of a family. Both beneficiaries encountered hardships over the past year and when Bikes for the Philippines learned of their struggles, they didn't hesitate to act. In fact, the green Kona and red Giant seen above are not Leila and Romeo's first bike donations.

Romeo is new to the Bikes for the Philippines family. He received his bicycle at the end of last year through his employer Corner Tree Cafe. During the pandemic many employees who had to report to work struggled with long commutes when public transportation was halted to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Many workers at Corner Tree Cafe did not own their own motorcycles and would have had to walk many miles in order to report to work. Corner Tree Cafe offered to transport their workers, but only every other week which left many of them stranded at work away from their families. This generous arrangement helped protect them with limited contact and alleviated the stress and expense of a challenging commute, but it also left families separated during an unsettling time.

Corner Tree Cafe, then turned to bikes as an alternative solution. They reached out to Bikes for the Philippines who worked to get their employees bikes, helmets, and training. Now Romeo could travel back and forth between work and home with ease. Earlier this year, however, a devastating fire broke out in his neighborhood which quickly destroyed many surrounding homes, including Romeo's. HIs family was spared, but they lost everything in the fire. When Bikes for the Philippines learned that Romeo's bike was destroyed, they arranged to have another one donated to help him and his family get back to work and back on their feet.

Leila is one of our original bike beneficiaries from our very first school partnership back in 2011 when Bikes for the Philippines was first founded. Leila was a student at Baclayon High School when BfP started their pilot school program. Leila was chosen to be among the first beneficiaries in the program. She graduated nearly a decade ago and ran into BfP in 2019. Then she was part of the banquet staff at the Hyatt Regency in Manila and looking forward to starting a new job aboard a cruise ship. However, when the pandemic hit, she lost her job with the Hyatt and the cruise ship job never materialized.

She is now delivering food with her sister. The family runs a food business and both girls have been delivering food throughout the pandemic. Knowing how important (and busy) food delivery service has been in 2020, BfP reached out to Leila and offered a brand new bike to help the family business.