Darwin wrote this as an elaboration of a piece on our organization for this month's Community Vision newsletter. You can find them in our shop Thursday and Friday taking sass from Lori.
I think a common experience of growing up in the U.S. is wanting to find places where we feel a sense of belonging and community.
For those of us raised at least partially on 90's television, with its plethora of family sitcoms and public children's programming, that belonging was often presented in the form a friendly little neighborhood with places you could go that everyone knows and welcomes you.
It's a lovely idea but often an unobtainable reality. Nowhere is ever as seen on TV.
There are many things that go into this of course. Gigabytes upon gigabytes of literature exists to explain how neighborhoods and family-owned businesses are gutted by a racist, ableist, capitalist system. I think a lot of people can relate to a feeling of fear over getting invested in a home or community because it could always be gone within a matter of months. It can feel like it's just not worth the effort.
Then, if we're lucky, we find spaces like Bikes for Humanity. Sure it has changed and moved around and fluctuated with its funding, but for 11 years it has plugged along steadily.
B4H currently lives inside a locally owned used book store, Bingo Books, which is a delightful, friendly, and surprisingly large place (I swear it is the TARDIS of bookstores). It is also next to a small fish market whose employees are some of the bubbliest people you will ever encounter, and a local plant and farm supply store, Naomi's. Just one door over is also a charming cafe with its own B4H-inspired bike shop in the back (what can I say, when you have a good idea it catches on).
Now not everything is all hearts and roses (not at all as seen on TV) but it's a wonderful cluster of friends, neighbors, bikes and books. A good place to come and find a little belonging and a taste of some 90's kid real-life nostalgia.
B4H and its neighbors may not always be as they are right now (or even in the same location), but you can count on one thing - they'll always be there for you in whatever way they can. I know that makes me, and I hope it makes you, want to be there for them too."