Updated: Jan 8
Pueblo volunteers donating bikes, parts, money and most importantly time, to provide affordable transportation to the those in need.
Green Chile Bike Bank has rebuilt and refurbished almost 450 bicycles for the needy in Pueblo in two short years. Volunteers have taken donated or discarded bikes, police impound bikes and thousands of volunteer hours to get Pueblo rolling forward!
“I had a goal to get every working homeless person in Pueblo a bicycle. Most people don't realize how many working homeless there are. Affordable transportation can make a world of difference in keeping a job and finding housing!" - Sam Chambers, founder of the Green Chile Bike Bank and dedicated volunteer for the homeless and all things bicycles in Pueblo!
Sam Chambers, his wife Stephanie and a crew of volunteers get together Wednesday nights rebuilding bicycles. This group of cyclists understands the pure joy and utility of a bicycle. They have rebuilt and gifted almost 450 bikes since January 2020. In fact, this all started just months before the pandemic shut down the economy in March 2020. The majority of the work was done in the Chamber's front yard or the Rescue Mission Homeless Shelter. But they recently moved into a rented, secure space.
The GCBB donates bicycles to men and women living at the homeless shelter, to those receiving assistance from Posada, the Volunteer for America assisting homeless veterans. They've hosted events to give away kids bikes in low income areas and roasted hot dogs to bring out the families. Recipients are asked to be photographed with their bicycle, they cannot sell the bike, if no longer wanted or needed, they need to give it back for someone else in need.
I had the distinct pleasure of witnessing the profound appreciation of several recipients at the shelter when I dropped off a donation of bicycle lights and locks. I knew Sam would find the right people in need. He asked a man nearby where he was working and if he was riding in the dark after work. The man said yes and Sam handed him a light set. While I got a tour of the renovated shelter, I saw the man examine the light set, read every part of the box, put it back together and just honestly cherish his new lights. He thanked me three times for that simple gift.
I had four other men inviting me to come see their bike, what they had done to fix it up themselves. Sam was hosting a night a week at the shelter to build bikes and help the recipients with minor maintenance with his tools. I was pleasantly surprised to see how appreciative these men were to have something of their own. Something that promotes health, wellness, independence and sheer joy!
So many of us have more than we need. We have stuff lying around the garage. You can donate any unused bicycles, bicycle parts, tire tubes, tools or cash to the GCBB.
Nothing makes a bicycle happier than a rider! Give your unwanted bikes a new life and donate them by dropping them off at the Great Divide Bike Shop on 4th and Santa Fe. The GCBB crew will be notified to pick them up and get to work making them road worthy again.
Sam shares many stories of the bikes impacting lives.
One man missed the bus to work, he ran back and unlocked his bike, rode to work and wasn't late! Not only did the man keep his job, he beamed with pride at solving his own problem, regained a sense of independence and resilience.
One woman was able to keep a job and leave an abusive relationship.
Another homeless veteran was given a bike, the next day he was notified of a housing opportunity if he could show up that afternoon. The bike whisked him across town to sign for an apartment.
The group doesn't just rebuild bikes, they also:
Repair bicycles for those who may not have access to tools, time, or means to do so. Donations for parts and time are appreciated.
Teaching maintenance skills and providing tools and guidance for bike owners
Collaborating with other organizations in Pueblo on bike-related projects
Connecting cyclists (and yet-to-be cyclists) of all kinds to each other and the community. You can see these volunteers every Thursday night during warm months at the Cruisin' Pueblo rides starting at Walter's Brewery.
Help keep the wheels and good times rolling....
Community members are welcome to volunteer bicycles, parts, cash, or their time fixing bicycles. Check out the Amazon wish list, donate by PayPal or check.