WESTFIELD, NJ — Got a used bike or sewing machine that you no longer need? Donate it this weekend to Pedals for Progress on Saturday, Oct. 19, at the Westfield Board of Education building from 9 a.m. to noon during a drive sponsored by the Westfield Rotary Club. They’re accepting adult and childrens’ bicycles in repairable condition, even with flat tires. Bikes should be rust-free, but not disassembled or in parts.
Donations will go to help people in developing countries.
“We are collecting bicycles to change people’s lives,” said Rotarian Bill Bonsall, Pedals for Progress Director in Westfield, who coordinated the drive with the High Bridge-based organization.
“We also collect used sewing machines, which help people to start a business and help keep girls out of the sex industry, in places like Hong Kong,” said Bonsall. Sewing machines allow people to start a business, and bicycles allow them to travel farther for work, he explained.
The project is also about sustainability. Americans purchase 18 million bicycles each year, and the old bikes end up in garages, basements, sheds and eventually landfills, according to Pedals for Progress.
Pedals for Progress is a 501(c)(3) non-profit founded by David Schweidenback, who began “putting used bikes to good use” over 25 years ago in New Jersey. The former carpenter left his construction business to focus on collecting and shipping bicycles to make a difference for people in need.
Pedals for Progress has received, processed, and donated more than 157,700 bikes and over 4,700 sewing machines, to developing countries in Latin America, Africa and Eastern Europe, according to the organization, and it has donated more than $10.8 million in new spare parts.
“We engage the community to get involved,” said Westfield Rotary Club President Liz Ensslin. “Our impact is international.”
To help with shipping costs, a tax-deductible donation of at least $10 is required with each bike or sewing machine. For more information about the upcoming bike drive, which will take place rain or shine, call Bonsall at 908-410-9228, or visit the Pedals for Progress website at https://www.p4p.org/.