Around a year ago, Rachelle Klein at Republic Services in Meridian decided that too many good bikes were being thrown away as trash and ending up in the landfill.
“Some of them just had flat tires, or a torn seat,” said Klein.
She started working with local volunteers to rehabilitate the bikes and give them away to people in need. Ken Pierson, a local resident with bike-repair skills, stepped up as a top volunteer. Pierson gave countless hours and even bought needed bike parts with money from his own pocket. He and other volunteers, including local Boy Scouts, ended up rehabbing more than 50 bikes and giving them to the local Boys and Girls Club and the Agency for New Americans. The effort earned Pierson a Meridian Stars volunteer award in 2016.
Everything was going fine until Pierson and his wife left to go on a mission for the LDS Church, said Klein.
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“But the funnel kept filling with bikes,” she said.
Other volunteers have stepped up to help since Pierson’s departure. But Klein and her fellow staffers are now looking for local groups interested in partnering with Republic in a more committed way to get more good bikes out the door.
Klein estimates that between 300 and 400 bikes are waiting for repairs at Republic Services’ transfer station in Meridian. There are a variety of brands, a variety of conditions, and bikes for both kids and adults.
Not all of the bikes can be saved. Some go to the metal recycler. But most of the bikes just need a few repairs.
“We’re looking for long-term, sustainable partners, an organized group to come forward,” said Klein, “whether that’s a church group, a scout group or another kind of service organization.
“It could be an honors club at a high school that wants to fix up bikes for refugee students at their school.”
Klein also welcomes ideas from anyone who might have some creative solutions when it comes to fixing bikes and distributing them in the community.
Republic continues to accept donated bikes for the program. People can drop off bikes in any condition Mondays through Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the company’s collection site, 2130 W. Franklin Road, between Linder and Ten Mile.