VSU, Valdosta Bike Center, Salvation Army partner to donate bikes to those in need
VALDOSTA, Ga. (WALB) - Valdosta State University’s (VSU) police department, Valdosta’s Bike Center and the Salvation Army have partnered up to give back to the community.
Discarded bikes on VSU’s campus are being refurbished and donated to those who need them most.
Something that would be junk has turned into a reliable ride.
VSU police said they often find abandoned bikes, sometimes on the racks or thrown in bushes with students leaving them behind or some bikes even being considered stolen.
VSU Police Records and Evidence Supervisor Rebecca Leatherberry said campus police have been collecting the bikes.
“We were really wanting to do something with the bicycles since so many were in decent shape or could be rehabbed,” said Leatherberry.
Leatherberry said they had a room full of bikes no one ever claimed after 90 days.
Instead of tossing them out, Leatherberry reached out to Valdosta Bike Center and donated about 50.
Store Manager Daniel Coulstring said they examine what’s missing and needed to get it ready to use it.
“It feels really good. The issue that we run into whenever we get these bikes is they have to be safe for these guys because they are trying to get jobs and they have to have transportation to get them back and forth to work. So being that middle man to get them that transportation they need, does feel really good,” said Coulstring.
Once the crew gets it back up and spinning, the Salvation Army comes in and helps get it to the right hands.
Commanding Officer Capt. Chris Thomas said they’ve donated some to those in the shelter who need a way to work.
“It feels enormously good to solve a problem that a person has,” said Thomas.
He said there have been cases of men using public transportation to get to work but the ride never arrives on time.
Thomas said the donations can come in handy for other uses too.
“But he needed to get to the doctor and so he was helping me and asked about the bikes he saw coming and going and wanted to know if he can get one and I was like, ‘sure, you can get one,’” Thomas recalled.
Overwhelmed with gratitude and like that, Thomas has many other stories.
VSU police also remind students to secure and lock their bikes so they don’t get stolen or taken apart.
If you’re interested in helping with these efforts, you can donate to the Salvation Army, or reach out to Valdosta Bike Center if you would like to donate a bike or bike parts, which they’re having supply chain issues with.
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