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Bicycle drive scheduled for April 29

April 04, 2006|by MARLO BARNHART

Members of Otterbein United Methodist Church in Hagerstown have picked Saturday, April 29, as the date for this year's Bikes for the World campaign.

With a goal of collecting at least 50 bicycles last year, the drive took in 285 bikes that went to two destinations - Sri Lanka, for tsunami recovery, and Guatemala, for youth skills training and employment.

People with used and serviceable bikes are asked to bring them to the church at 108 E. Franklin St. between 9 a.m. and noon on April 29.

Mike Johnston and fellow volunteers will be at the church to accept bikes for adults and children. After all the bikes have been packed, a representative from Bikes for the World will come from Arlington, Va., to haul them for shipping.

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Bikes for the World is affiliated with the Washington (D.C.) Area Bicyclist Association, which ships unwanted, clean and usable bikes all over the world, Johnston said. A donation of $10 to defray costs is welcome but not mandatory.

Donated bikes go to adults and children who need affordable transportation to get to health services and educational opportunities in countries in Central America and West Africa, Johnston said.

These bikes can also help poor people earn more income by allowing them to get better jobs. Another benefit is learning business management skills, as well as improving bicycle mechanical skills.

The partner for Sri Lanka is the Sri Lanka Association of Greater Washington (SLAGW), which paid shipping costs and arranged for a total of three containers of bicycles to be delivered and cleared through customs.

The Guatemalan partner is Servicios Ecumnicos de Formacin Cristiana en Centro Amrica (SEFCA) - roughly translated as "Central American Ecumenical Services for Christian Education."

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