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NRV Bike Kitchen works to donate bicycles to local families and refugees

Published: Dec. 22, 2021 at 5:17 PM EST
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NEW RIVER VALLEY Va. (WDBJ) - The work to help Afghan families continues.

The New River Valley (NRV) Bike Kitchen is working to donate more than a dozen bikes to the Afghan families who moved into Virginia communities last fall.

“I just enjoy riding myself and I want to share the energy and the freedom of being on a bicycle,” said Daniel ‘Dan’ Maderic, a longtime volunteer with the NRV Bike Kitchen.

He started riding bikes as a child, and now he works to make sure others can get around too.

“Just when I when I fix a bike for someone, I mean, anytime it’s just just just a warm feeling,” said Maderic.

For the last ten years, Maderic has volunteered with NRV Bike Kitchen repairing and delivering hundreds of bikes to those who need them most.

“With the Afghan refugees coming into our community, to get them, you know, transportation, as we did in the past. I don’t know how many years ago we did it for the Syrian community that came into our New River Valley,” said Maderic.

The Bike Kitchen teamed up with the Blacksburg Refugees Partnership, an organization that connects displaced families to the resources they need to make a new home.

“Transportation is really important in, anywhere, and especially in the United States, where car-dependency is such a big thing that if you’re not able to afford a car or need some other way to get around, it’s important to be able to have a reliable method of transportation to get where you need to go,” said Ben Miller, a volunteer with NRV Bike Kitchen.

The need for bikes is year-round, so they’re always working with other organizations to help people of all ages.

“We are able to connect with other community organizations and stakeholders throughout the NRV. It’s just really helpful because we’re all sort of trying to reach the same goal or objective, and making sure that our community members have everything they need,” said Lauren Lucas, an Intensive Services Program Manager with New River Valley Community Services (NRVCS).

The NRVCS also reached out to the Bike Kitchen and for assistance with their Christmas program, which helps support families they serve during the holidays. They came up short on their budget but still wanted to provide a child with a bicycle.

The Bike Kitchen sent a request to the New River Valley Bicycle Association (NRVBA) listserv asking if anyone had a mountain bike, and they were ready to donate.

They got several replies -- one person volunteered to buy a new bike. The Bike Kitchen connected the donor with the NRVCS and that bike was purchased and donated Wednesday.

“Every hour I spend wrenching on a bike because an hour somebody can spend to get around getting around,” said Miller.

The Bike Kitchen is also looking for volunteers. To learn how you can help, you visit the Facebook page.

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