A program that provides bikes to less fortunate people in Nanaimo has plenty of new wheels these days.
Greg Nowik and Eddie Goncalves, co-founders of Bikes for Kids, a program that provides donated bikes to adults and children who cannot afford to purchase their own bike, told the News Bulletin that 28 brand-new bikes and 18 used bikes have been donated to them since a theft occurred at their warehouse in mid-October.
“The community has really come to the party. It has really been amazing,” Nowik said.
Around Thanksgiving, Nowik and Goncalves discovered that 40 bikes had been stolen from the Bikes for Kids warehouse in Nanaimo. Although they originally believed 20-30 bikes were missing, the number was much higher.
“The 40 bikes we had were good bikes,” Nowik said.
Last Friday, Nowik and picked up the 28 bikes from Canadian Tire, which donated two brand-new bikes to the program as well and have been supporting Bikes for Kids since it began.
Fred Alteen, general manager of Canadian Tire, said he’s happy to support the program.
“We’ve been helping [Bikes for Kids] with locks and helmets and stuff like that,” he said, adding that the program does a tremendous amount for the community.
Bikes for Kids was started nearly three years ago by Nowik and Goncalves, who wanted to do something positive for the city. The program has a partnership with the Nanaimo RCMP and Arrowsmith Bikes, which repairs any donated bikes that need to be fixed.
“People think we are a non-profit organization, but we are actually just a mortgage company that is trying to give back to the community,” Nowik said.
Instead of accepting monetary donations, Bikes for Kids asks people to buy new kids’ bikes from Canadian Tire, which then get donated to the program and ultimately to children who needs a new bike.
Since news broke of the recent theft, Nowik said Bikes for Kids continue to receive donations from members of the community as well as people from the Lower Mainland and beyond. He said they’ve also received plenty of inquiries from people looking to donate or help out in some fashion.
“It’s just heart-warming,” Nowik said. “It’s really nice to see the community come forward.”
For more information about the program, please call 604-290-3779.