On Saturday, October 19, Westfield Rotarians collected 100 bicycles and 10 sewing machines for re-use. Thanks to the generosity of the Westfield community, the lives of 110 people in underdeveloped nations, and their communities, will be better. The collection total this year was far in excess of prior years, and adds to the total of over 2100 bicycles and 110 sewing machines collected since the first annual collection.
The Rotarian volunteers set up each donated bicycle in a compact configuration for shipment by removing the pedals, turning the handlebars , and removing bulky accessories. Many hands made light work.  The fellowship which comes from working alongside old friends and new acquaintances in a worthwhile cause made the time fly by. The event culminated with loading the bicycles into the truck for shipment, and a hearty cheer when the day's collection was tallied.

This event was held in cooperation with Pedals for Progress.  Pedals for Progress ships the bicycles and sewing machines to the receiving country and repairs them in a shop within the receiving country to provide added benefits in employment and skills. The bicycles and sewing machines are then sold for a nominal price, typically a dollar or two, within the reach of those willing to help themselves.
This bicycle collection program was initiated in 1987 by longtime Rotarian Warren Rorden, pictured above. The successful event was a fitting tribute to Warren's leadership and guidance of this event over the years.
The bicycles and sewing machines make a real difference in the life of someone less fortunate. For example, a farmer who tends a field 10 miles from his village will spend 5 hours or more just walking to and from the field each day. A bicycle will free up 3 or more hours every working day for the farmer to earn more and improve his life and his community. Sewing machines allow empower women to earn income for their families. These improvements can help break the cycle of poverty. For example, they may allow a family to afford school fees and supplies for their children.
The cost of shipping and repairing the bicycles and sewing machines was partially offset by generous donations from community members who donated the items, and by a generous grant from Peoples Capital Group. We also thank Jays Cycle Center for a donation of seven bicycles, and the Board of Education for use of the Board headquarters parking lot during the collection.