Foundation and re-Cycles team up to offer bikes to children in Strathcona Heights
The OCH Foundation for Healthy Communities has not let the current pandemic discourage their commitment to supporting young people in OCH neighbourhoods. Staff and partners aim to provide support so residents can live healthier, more physically active lives.
On October 7, the Foundation’s recLINK program partnered with re-Cycles Ottawa to distribute 20 bikes and accessories to children living in Strathcona Heights.
“Throughout the last several months we have been hearing that families are feeling isolated and children are looking for alternative ways to play,” said Sharon Jollimore, Director of Program and Innovation for recLINK. “A lot of families were asking for equipment such as bikes and scooters that could be used to get their kids outside and active while respecting physical distancing measures.”
Since the pandemic started, the Foundation and recLINK staff have been looking at offering support in new ways – which is why they reached out to re-Cycles.
John Stinson, President of re-Cycles said he was thrilled to receive the request. “A big part of our mandate is to put more bicycles on the road by providing affordable, recycled bikes to the community. It was incredible to see the excitement in the young people receiving their new bikes.”
For many riders, this was their first ever bike.
One young girl was captivated by her new pink bike. “I have always dreamed of having a bike like this,” she said.
We also heard from some parents that the new bikes would be used to get to school.
“This is a prime example of community partners coming together with their own resources to support a need in our communities,” said Traci Spour-Lafrance, Community Developer at Ottawa Community Housing.
The Strathcona Heights Bike Give Away would not have been successful without the support from the OCH Community and Tenant Support team, Strathcona Heights resident leaders, and staff from the Sandy Hill Community Health Centre who helped identify families in need.
A big thanks to the volunteers from re-Cycles who were on-site to provide one last turn of the wrench or tire pump-up! As for what is next, there is a waiting list and a lot of enthusiastic individuals wanting to organize a larger event to collect and distribute recycled bikes in the spring.
For more information on the OCH Foundation’s recLINK Program, please contact Sharon Jollimore at firstname.lastname@example.org.