It is the season of giving, and Fort Worth cyclists from eleven different area clubs rallied together to bring the gift of bikes to neighbors who will truly enjoy them. Through the Wheel Love virtual event on Facebook, Team Bicycles Inc., WheelBrothers, Fort Worth Bike Association, Dallas Off-Road Bike Association, Team Tornado Alley, Manly Bulge Bike Club, North Tarrant Cycling Club, Bike Friendly Fort Worth, Bike Friendly Mid Cities, Velo Gold, and Team Tugg Cycling club members donated to purchase two bikes, a lock, a helmet, and a gift card to residents of The Palm Tree Apartments in Fort Worth.
Residents of The Palm Tree Apartments are rebuilding their lives after experiencing homelessness. DRC, along with the Paulos Foundation, and Fort Worth Housing Solutions are working to provide homes as a solution to homelessness… and it’s working! Area Fort Worth cyclists became aware of this great project and heard some of the residents’ stories and were inspired to help.
One resident requested a bike to work on regaining her health and fitness level. The conversation led to how a bike could also help with work in their community garden, as well as option for transportation to the grocery store and other errands. Additionally, one unit included a mother and her teen child who are both in school, and both earning straight A’s. Fort Worth cyclists wanted to acknowledge this teen’s hard work and encourage him to “pedal on”!
A donation project was formed to meet the identified needs and send a message of support to these, our inspiring Fort Worth neighbors.
Bicycles Inc. staff led the fundraising project for the discounted bikes. An EZ Roll adult trike was chosen to meet the needs of The Palm Tree residents as a whole. They will be able to check out the bike from the office. In addition, a Specialized Roll was gifted to the young teen, in his favorite color, purple, to say, “We’re proud of you, we acknowledge you, and we look forward to seeing you thrive.” Needless to say, he was delighted. A helmet, lock, t-shirt, bike pump and gift card for his first few tubes was included.
You may wonder, how does someone become homeless? DRC has shared two real-life stories, including our teen and his mother’s story below:
Gary & Doris and their neighbor, Wanda, came from different worlds. Today, however, they share a great deal, not the least of which is an address. These two households, now neighbors, have overcome loss and hardship with the help of partners in an award-winning housing community for people escaping homelessness.
Many roads might lead to homelessness, and many who experience it are like Gary, Doris and Wanda—different from you and me in only one heartbreaking way: they have lost part of the social fabric of lives, often their anchor.
For Wanda, it was her mother. For Gary and Doris, it was his job.
After her mother’s death, Wanda’s grief was overwhelming. Her loss was made worse by a relationship that spiraled into violence. She and her son fled, and with nowhere to turn, became homeless.
At one point, they turned to a local homelessness shelter, but Wanda was told her son was too old to stay with her in the women’s section. Instead, the 11-year-old boy would have to sleep in the men’s dormitory. Horrified and desperate to stay together, Wanda and her son walked away.
Doris and Gary’s story
For Gary and Doris, job loss sent their lives into a tailspin. At the start of 2015, Gary had a well-paying job in computer services that seemed secure. After all, he had earned glowing performance reviews year after year and had been recommended for promotion twice.
So when company executives stopped by Gary’s office last spring, he expected good news.
“I thought I was getting that promotion. Instead they told me that they were eliminating my job,” Gary said. “That was a kick in the head.”
At age 59, Gary was thrown back into the job market, taking what temporary work he could get while he searched for a permanent, full-time job. He worked hard, but the gap between the couple’s expenses and income grew with each passing month and by January, the couple’s worst fears were realized: they were evicted from their apartment. For the next four months, home would be Doris’s 2004 Chevy Cavalier.
Thankfully, that is not the end of their story.
Like Wanda, Gary and Doris found the DRC. Working together, members of our team offered them an array of DRC solutions that follow a three-step process we’ve proven to be a solution for homelessness. It’s simple: the DRC prepares, places and supports people experiencing homelessness in permanent housing—not just overnight shelter—linked with the help people like Gary, Doris and Wanda need to emerge from homelessness with new strength.
Today Gary, Doris, Wanda and her son are among 27 residents of an award-winning supportive housing community for people once homeless. It is changing the way we see solutions to homelessness, one of community’s greatest civic challenges.
You can be part of that solution by supporting Breakfast with the Mayor February 2, 2018 at the Omni Fort Worth Hotel. See this link for details.
Please Note: A table of Fort Worth cyclists is being formed at the Friends Level. If you’d like to be a part, email Lisa Tilley. There are a few seats available, or host your own! You can read more about DRC here.
Did your club participate in the season of giving? Would you like to share your story? Let us know!
Happy Holidays from WheelBrothers!