MOUNDRIDGE — West Zion Mennonite Church held its first bike drive last year and the event's impact is bringing it back again this spring.
The church is holding a bicycle drive from 8 to 10 a.m. March 16 at its building, located at 101 S. Washington in Moundridge.
"We're really excited to do this again because I think it was a pretty big success last year," said Pastor Brad Roth. "...It was a packed trailer."
The bicycles are donated to refugees in the Wichita area. Saint Francis Migration Ministries, the organization that will receive the bicycles, are expecting 100 refugees this year.
"Our need for bicycles this year is about the same as it was last year, as our number of newcomers is about the same, although we are always hoping to grow our capacity with how many people we can serve," said St. Francis Migration Ministries Volunteer and Donations Coordinator Kendra Alison.
"They've come here and they're trying to get their life back together; escaping from violence and very tumultuous political situations in their home countries," Roth said. "This is a chance to help people be able to work and to get ahead."
Having a means of transportation to classes and jobs until they can get a car can give individuals greater opportunities and access to resources.
"For people without cars or driving licenses, this is one easy way for them to cut transportation costs by not taking a bus, and by giving them more control over the places they can go," Alison said.
The bike drive falls in line with the church's theme for the year of going outside its walls. West Zion Mennonite Church members have also collected funds to provide snacks for students in Moundridge school, plan to participate in the Mennonite Central Committee sale and will hold an outdoor worship and hot dog roast in July.
"The whole focus for the year is how can we love our community," Roth said.
Last year, the church collected 33 bicycles and $500 in cash from individuals not just in Moundridge, but from many surrounding cities.
"Once people understood what we were doing, they got on board with that," Roth said. "...There were people coming from quite a distance to donate."
"There are countless ways for people to get involved and volunteer with our office, and I am so grateful for the church stepping in to help, and to be hospitable welcoming neighbors," Alison said.
Taking a trailer full of donated bicycles to Saint Francis Migration Ministries was a rewarding experience for those involved.
"They were so excited; that was pretty awesome," Roth said.
"It was a delight to teach others to ride a bike, if they hadn’t learned before, and to demonstrate road safety," Alison said.
New or used bicycles for all ages will be accepted at West Zion Mennonite church's bike drive. Even those in need of repair can be donated.
Monetary donations will also be accepted at the bike drive. Those funds will go toward the purchase of bicycle helmets.
For more information about the bike drive or to schedule an alternative time to drop off a bike, contact the West Zion Mennonite Church office at 620-345-8143 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contact Patricia Middleton by email at email@example.com or follow her stories on Twitter at @MacSentinel.