Shelter receives 10 new bikes from Applied Imaging and Dunham’s and a new bike shed from Rebuilding Together
What would a new bike mean to you?
For clients at South Oakland Shelter, it means hope.
Thanks to the generosity of Dunham’s and Applied Imaging, the shelter now has 10 brand-new bikes – and a new shed in which to house them, donated by Rebuilding Together.
The fleet of new bikes is a game changer for SOS clients like Darryl Williams, 52, who need reliable transportation to obtain employment, housing and a way forward in life.
“The bikes will help people out very much,” the father of four said, before taking one of the donated bikes for a spin last week. Williams exceeded his fund-raising goal for rental assistance, receiving $1,048 in donations on the HandUp Detroit website. “A lot of people in the program need bikes to get back and forth. … If they’re going on a job interview or to the Secretary of State to get their ID … the bikes will help people get there.”
Many months in the making, the project all came together Friday when representatives from Applied Imaging and Dunham’s Sporting Goods gathered at SOS’s office in Lathrup Village to deliver the bikes to their new home. It was the culmination of a collaborative effort spearheaded by Applied Imaging, whose employees first conceived the idea when planning the company’s annual Tech Olympics.
The team-building event gives technicians from across the state a chance to work together – and engage in some friendly competition. This year’s event included a bike-building challenge in which teams of technicians had 30 minutes to reassemble deconstructed bikes – and do it well, said Homer Conley, an Applied Imaging field service manager who helped organize the bike-build donation effort.
“The managers had to come up with an event for the Olympics, and once we did that, then we said, ‘What are we going to do with these bikes?’ Conley said. “So, we decided to donate them.”
When Applied Imaging reached out to Dunham’s Southgate store, general manager Holly Nieto was more than happy to help, ordering the bikes for the company at a steep discount.
“I’m just glad I could be here today to see this,” said Nieto, grateful for the chance to witness the donation. “It’s really wonderful.”
As Rob Henderson, a field service manager at Applied Imaging, unloaded the bikes from the delivery truck, his colleague Mike Egan meticulously inspected each one, making final adjustments as needed to ensure each bike was in tip-top shape. The brightly colored Huffy bikes — five men’s and five women’s frames – were equipped with headlights and reflectors so that clients can safely use them day or night.
“Bicycling is my passion,” said Egan, an Applied Imaging manager. “If I can’t ride ‘em, I love working on ‘em. (The bikes) can make a lot of difference in a lot of people’s lives. … It’s certainly a great source of transportation for all of us.”
Ryan Hertz, president and CEO of South Oakland Shelter, reflected on the enormous impact the bikes will have on the shelter’s clients.
“It can be hard for many of us to imagine not having our most basic needs met, and how limiting it can be not to have easy access to simple things like transportation,” Hertz said. When the economy is failing you and your social supports are failing you, something as simple as a bicycle can be extremely liberating.”
SOS is seeking volunteers (ages 12-18) to paint the new bike shed on Saturday, May 12, from 2-5 p.m. Click here to sign up!