National Bike Month is an annual celebration of cycling during the month of May. Barnabas takes this opportunity to share progress and success of their two-wheeled partnership program, Adult Bikes for Barnabas (ABB). Barnabas is a charitable agency providing programs and services to help Nassau County residents with urgent needs, who find themselves in unforeseen circumstances, and who are in crisis.
ABB was an idea brought to us by Phil Scanlan, local trails advocate and a coordinator of the Amelia Island Trail Team. The Trail Team supported Phil’s idea that has worked well here due to close proximity of living, shopping, and employment. The goal is to provide bicycle transportation to adults seeking jobs or to get to their workplace. Since April of 2011, 150 bikes have been given to Barnabas clients.
The first step in the ABB process is to donate a used bike to the Amelia Cycling and Fitness Center on 8th St. Joel Beckam, owner, has been repairing bicycles since age 11, starting at a bike shop in Palatka. He came to Fernandina over 25 years ago, and is still doing the work he loves, operating a retail bike shop and repairing bikes. Bikes for the program are refurbished at a discounted rate of $60.00 for parts, including lock and lights; the labor is donated. Financial gifts for the bike program are gratefully accepted at Barnabas Center. Joel says simply that he tries to help others and enjoys seeing a program like ABB fulfilling a local need. He reports that several bikes have been brought back from those obtaining employment, a residence, and a car, stating the bike can go to the next person that needs it.
The East Nassau branch of the Unitarian Universalist Church has taken a special interest in the program through their community outreach, and The Katie Foundation hosted a bike drop-off site offering a discounted Katie Ride registration for a bike donation. The program continues to help Nassau County residents thanks to the support of our citizens.
If you have a bike you would like to donate, please contact Phil St. Laurent, Barnabas Operations Manager, at (904) 261-7000 extension 102 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.