A few residents from Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows have been repairing and donating bikes to support migrant farm workers, and their next haul of around 200 bikes will be going towards farm workers who lost their bikes during the Fraser Valley flooding last year.
The individuals are now seeking volunteers to help repair and fulfill a large order of bikes.
Steve Nicklen, a Maple Ridge resident, who is part of this group of individuals donating bikes, is also the member who fixes up the bikes. He remarked that while he loved fixing the bikes, he could use help.
“I’m working six days a week at two jobs and I have about 50 bikes to repair on the side. I could definitely use help fixing right now. So, for volunteering to repair bikes I would be looking for someone that has some bike repair skills and can do some fairly advanced stuff, like replacing cables and properly tuning gears. I can get parts for them but it would be good if they had some tools at home and a space to work and keep a few bikes to work on,” he said.
Earlier in February, Nicklen delivered 30 bikes to migrant workers in Langley. The next delivery will be for around 200 bikes to migrant farm workers who lost their transportation during the Fraser Valley floods last year.
Byron Cruz from Sanctuary Health and the program “Migrante a Migrante”, has been working tirelessly with migrant farm workers. After the Fraser Valley floods, he realized that not only had these workers lost their possessions and means to provide for themselves, they had also lost transportation.
He reached out to Pitt Meadows’ migrant farm worker rights advocate, Thelma Rodriguez, and let her know of the need for bikes.
“We definitely need the help. We also need a place for storage. Right now, Carolina Echeverría from the Family Education and Support Centre, is providing storage for the bikes and has also given some financial help,” said Rodriguez, who was recognized by the City of Pitt Meadows, for her dedication to the community last year, with the Good Neighbour Award.
Another advocate, Yves Chinnapen, chair of the Ridge Meadows Multicultural Society, also discovered the need for bikes for migrant farm workers post-flooding, through his work with the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.
“There is a bigger branch of the St. Vincent de Paul that covers the migrants in greater Vancouver. That’s when I found out that migrant workers lost a lot of their prized possessions including bicycles in the last Fraser Valley flood,” he said, noting, “Their bicycles are their pride and joy. Give them a sense of independence.”
Nicklen, who is leading the bike repairs, has been grateful for the community’s help. He also gets asked if he could possibly fulfill such a big order.
“I’ve been asked a lot how I am going to meet the demand of all these bike requests, and my answer to that is simply ‘one bike at a time’.”
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