Bonne Terre Police Chief Doug Calvert said the city makes every effort to find the owners of the bikes, but if they’re unclaimed, “they start to pile up.” Calvert said they keep the bikes 6-12 months before they’re given up.
Bunch said he remembered a program out of Potosi Correctional Center in which inmates worked over unwanted or unclaimed bikes for dispersal to needy kids during the holidays. He said for a while, Bonne Terre’s ERDCC prison inmates helped refurbish the bikes to make them road-worthy again.
“That first year, about 50 bikes went to Head Start and to halfway house residents to look for employment or go to work,” Bunch said. “We got nice thank you notes from the guys at the halfway house. But last year, that program ended, and Shared Blessings stepped up.”
Shelly Bess, executive director of Shared Blessings, said there’s a growing row of bikes in the homeless shelter’s storage area, and spare bike parts — the costs which SFCCP is reimbursing — have been ordered. They’re only waiting for volunteers to put them back into serviceable repair.
“Once it’s said and done, we plan to put 40 or 50 bikes back in service that would have been trashed,” she said. “Most just need minor repair. It’s turning out to be a very good thing.”
For more information or to donate old bicycles, contact Shared Blessings at 573-358-2998 or [email protected].
Sarah Haas is the assistant editor for the Daily Journal. She can be reached at 573-518-3617 or at [email protected].
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