It all started as a simple post on Facebook. Back in February 2016, Pat Simmons put out a request for donations of used bicycles. Five years later, this call to action has grown into the non-profit organization Bikes for Christ, committed to helping those in need while also sharing their love of God. Bikes for Christ now partners with over 60 agencies in four local counties and has also sent bikes to Guatemala, Haiti and Africa.
“I started by getting involved with a couple of different ministries that worked with the homeless,” said Simmons. “Six months into that a light finally went off above my head and said ‘You can help these people with transportation.’ Because, as an avid cyclist, I had wanted to combine my love of cycling with something that I had a passion for.”
As the President of the Tampa Bay Area Liberian Community Association, Mulbah Gbalah is also always looking for ways to help those in need. In November 2020, when Gbalah was in search of used bicycles, a quick Facebook search led him to contact Bikes for Christ.
“I was thinking about how I can help my fellow Liberians,” said Gbalah. “I went on Facebook and I saw ‘Bicycle Donations,’ so I messaged Pat.” Once he confirmed with Pat that the Liberian Community Association would be responsible for shipping the bikes to Africa, they agreed to work together to make his dream a reality. After making the long trek halfway across the world, 23 bicycles along with children’s scriptural books were distributed to directly to kids in Liberia.
For those who may be wondering how they can also make an impact, according to Simmons, it’s simple. “Find your niche, find out what is needed, stick to it and make it the best that you possibly can.”
If you are looking for ways to get involved and you have a bicycle that is road worthy, visit Bikes4Christ.com or call (813) 533-9177 for more information.