My name is Ben Sommer, and I'm the Director for the LIFT Bike Project, a non-profit organization founded by a Harvard undergrad in 2009 with the mission of addressing transportation issues among homeless and low-income residents in the Boston Area by donating refurbished bicycles to those in need.
This year we are hoping to giveaway 100 bikes at the Green Streets Initiative's Walk/Ride Day on April 27! But we have a lot to do to get ready.
Every Wednesday we hold "refurb nights" at Quad Bikes in Cambridge where volunteers can get a little greasy by helping to fix up donated bikes. We usually have a wide range of volunteers show up to help, from first time bike noobs, to professional mechanics, to local Cambridge characters. We drink a little beer, listen to a little music, and wield a little wrench.
Most of our bikes come from the Cambridge DPW, which stores bikes that have been abandoned on the street. 50 of our bikes are donated by Roll It Forward, a similar program started by the City of Boston. Individuals also dredge up bikes from their basement as well to give them new life in the service of someone who needs it.
I myself am a Cambridge native who moved back to the area after graduating from college in Minnesota. I have gained experience working with a tight budget since helping to found and manage the Dorchester Winter Farmers' Market, an awesome place to go for affordable healthy food this winter in Boston. I also am a community organizer for the Dorchester Community Food Coop, a start up organization that hopes to build a community-owned grocery store in the heart of Dorchester.
An Awesome Foundation grant would go a long way in the LIFT Bike Project. We are a lighthearted and sometimes goofy, community-oriented organization that does a lot of good for a lot of people.
Thank you for your consideration!
Funded by Boston, MA (February 2012)