Giving forward together while giving hope today

by Maritime
Categories: 2019, Events, News Archive
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One in three families in Canada cannot afford to enroll their children in organized sports. This is why Sportwheels has a mission to achieve the highest participation of children in recreational sports. Sportwheels customers contribute a small amount to this mission with each purchase they make along with offering donations of refurbished bikes; this is how Sportwheels was able to provide 80 kids at the Open Arms Center in Halifax with bikes this summer, as well as hundreds more in the past.
“Most businesses spend about 25% of their net earnings on marketing; we realized if we spend even 20% of that on giving and save 5% for marketing that we could create a great model to help hundreds or even thousands of kids,” says Sportwheels Owner, Jeff Mayhew.
Over seven years ago, Jeff’s passion created the inspiration for a community-based nomination approach where community members nominate a neighbour for instance, who may have lost everything in a fire or perhaps the parents have separated. In the first year of the Giving Forward Together program, Sportwheels was able to help eight kids. Soon after this, Sportwheels partnered with The Salvation Army to create a refurbished bike program for kids in need; with help from radio promotion, 100 bikes were collected! Since then, between 100 to 150 bikes are refurbished each Spring by Jeff’s dedicated Dad, Ron for kids in need.
When asked what refurbishing bikes for kids means to Ron, he said, “A long time ago, we began sending refurbished bikes via boat to the Dominican Republic where for some, it was like receiving a new car; this is how life changing bikes are for many – it’s transportation for them.” Ron spends countless hours refurbishing the many bikes that are donated to Sportwheels. Aligned with his passion for giving, Ron has a similar bike refurbishing program in Florida where he spends time each winter.
“It’s proven to be a program that brings a lot of excitement and a lot of joy into the lives of children who, maybe otherwise, wouldn’t get a bike and have that experience of freedom that a bicycle brings,” says Captain Jamie Locke.
Sportwheels has a number of partners including Phoenix Youth, Adsum House, the Province’s Schools Plus program, Family SOS, and the IWK, which has involved adapting bikes for those with special needs. As a result of these partnerships, Sportswheels has helped over 1,000 children in need.
“We don’t just give a bike to a kid and say we’ve helped him or her, we want to be sure it helps the individual by at least 50% to get involved with the sport,” said Jeff. “We also have a hockey drive once a year where we sort through gear for distribution, which helps over 50 kids each year; it’s a joy for us to give back to all the communities that have supported us over the years.”
It’s all about helping! Giving Forward Together. The Salvation Army is grateful for this ongoing partnership as together, we put big smiles on the faces of many kids in need.
It’s not too late to donate bikes. Sportwheels collects bikes year round at their Sackville Drive store.