Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of Long Island (RPCV of LI), in partnership with the Ethical Humanist Society of Long Island, is collecting used bicycles and sewing machines on Saturday, April 1 (rain or shine), from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the Ethical Society, 38 Old Country Rd. in Garden City (at the western end of Old Country Road, next to the water tower). Items collected will be refurbished by the international project Pedals for Progress & Sewing Peace and sent to developing communities overseas.
Anyone with an adult or child’s bicycle in repairable condition or a working portable sewing machine is urged to donate the item. The program does not accept “bikes for parts,” disassembled bikes or tricycles.
It costs $40 to collect, process, ship, rebuild and distribute each bicycle. A donation toward shipping costs is necessary (suggested minimum $10 per item). All cash and material donations are fully deductible and a receipt will be provided on site.
This is the 14th bike/sewing machine collection organized by RPCV of LI and the second time it has been cosponsored by the Ethical Society. Huntington resident Kathy Williams-Ging was the first to suggest a bicycle collection to the Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of Long Island. She learned of Pedals for Progress from a friend in New Jersey.
Williams-Ging said,” I lived in Peru as a Peace Corps volunteer for two years in 1971 and 1972 without a vehicle. I learned first hand what it was like to depend on public transportation all of the time. Having a bicycle makes life easier in many ways—getting to work or school, going to the market or reaching the clinic.”
Since beginning this collection, RPCV of LI has collected 1294 bicycles and 100 sewing machines.
Floral Park’s Alison Pratt, who is the coordinator of the drive at the Ethical Society in Garden City, says the collection is an expression of the values of the Ethical Society to do what we can to help people to live their best lives.
“Donating a used bike or idle sewing machine is an easy way to make a huge difference in the life of someone who doesn’t have the resources we do,” Pratt said.
Pedals for Progress collects bicycles and sewing machines annually and transfers this material wealth to those more needy. To date, more than 149,000 bicycles and 3,500 sewing machines have been shipped to developing countries in Latin America, Africa and Eastern Europe. In these countries the bikes are reconditioned by partner agencies and distributed at low cost to poor working adults.
Bikes provide reliable transportation for commuting to work, transporting product to market and accessing health care and other services. Sewing machine shipments help initiate educational programs and generate income opportunities that may otherwise remain out of reach for many people. Steady employment for adults is vital to the development and success of struggling communities.