GALLIPOLIS — Buckeye Vine consignment shop proprietor Charlene Carter and her colleagues are collecting used bicycles to buy parts and have them repaired to give away to children in the community.
“We’ve give them away on a daily basis,” said Carter. “But if we get enough bikes, we’ll do some kind of bike giveaway. It’s all volunteer and we’re just trying to pay attention to children in the community who are a neglected.”
Carter said bikes were being sent to the Gallia Sheriff’s Office Work Release Center for repair and that the first load of repairs were nearly done and soon to be returning for distribution.
“We’ve already given four or five away,” said Carter. “We’re hoping to give gobs and gobs of them away. We have $9 or less in a bike for repairs.”
Carter said the initiative thus far has collected around 17 bikes and another 10 are to be coming. She said she believed individuals who had pledged to bring more bikes would be more active as the weather warmed.
“People can drop them here (at the shop) or they can organize themselves,” said Carter. “There are a couple churches that are picking up our idea and doing it among themselves. They don’t have to join us. We just want to pass out as many bikes as we can.”
The initiative has been dubbed “Gallia cares, Kids matter.”
“It’s just a group of customers, friends and consignees and what we’ve done with these kids,” said Carter. “We keep food that we try to give them and free clothing. They may be things that people don’t want or haven’t sold. We take it home and wash it to get the spots out.”
When school started in the fall of last year, said Carter, the initiative gathered underwear and socks to be passed out to students through their school nurses.
“We’ve always got something going on and this season it’s the bikes,” said Carter. “We try to do one every season….I’ve talked to some (school nurses) and they’ve said you wouldn’t believe the kids that don’t have underclothing. Some might not be getting laundry. Nobody’s watching where their clothes are or helping them get dressed in the morning. How can a child sit there and have dignity about himself and learn anything when he’s scared to death someone might find out that he doesn’t have any underclothes on?”
Dean Wright can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2103.