Local program gives bikes, hope to those in need
COLUMBIA - Dan Steska pulled up to The Crossing church with a symbol of hope in the back of his pickup truck and a grateful recipient in his passenger seat.
Steska is the lead volunteer for the Bike to the Future Program and after only a year of being in business, the program just gave away its 100th bike to Sidney Morris.
"Before I got this bike, it took me an hour to get to and from work because I had to walk," Morris said.
According to Dan, Bike to the Future is an inter-denominational partnership that provides free bike transportation to adults who need it in the community.
In the beginning, the idea was to get bikes to what Steska calls "prison re-entry residents." The group wanted to make sure that lack of transportation didn't stand in the way of those trying to reestablish themselves back into society.
"That was our original plan, and then we started learning about all of these people who shared this need so then it became a community effort," Steska said.
Every week, people can drop off their unwanted bikes to the designated donation spot. The bikes are collected and taken to so volunteers can repair them if necessary.
"Recently we've started working with Veterans United and so now, veterans come over on Tuesdays and make sure the bikes work properly so we can give them away," Steska said. "This something we didn't expect but we're happy that it's working out this way."
Before getting the bike voucher, a person must first go through a verification process with Love INC, an organization that helps connect churches and community organizations with people in need.
"Not everyone has it like that. We are people, we go through things and sometimes we need a little help," Morris said.
"I'm glad I have this organization and I hope people aren't afraid to ask if they need something too."
Steska says he believes the future of the organization looks pretty bright.
"We're going to continue to move forward and give to the community as much as possible," Steska said. "Everyone deserves a helping hand and that's what we're hoping to give."