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Free Bicycle Giveaway at Patchogue Church

Event organized by Rev. Dwight Lee Wolter gave out approximately 90 bicycles to those in need.

Approximately 90 bikes were given out for free and without any questions asked recently at the .

This event, Workers Without Wheels, was organized by Rev. Dwight Lee Wolter from the church.

Wolter said that bikes were given out to anyone that came to the event because there was a great need for it in the community.

"Let your conscience be your guide," said Wolter about those seeking bikes. "There's just a lot of need."

Those who came down in the hopes of getting a bike were not asked for ID, proof of employment or lack of income documentation.

The charitable event began at 9 a.m. on Apr. 2, and by 11 a.m. they were virtually all gone.

There were 45 brand new bikes valued at $400 each, and given at cost, courtesy of Carl Hart Bicycles in Middle Island.

David Santos, a mechanic from the shop, was on hand assembling the bicycles on the spot with other mechanics along with his son Jonah, 12, and Patchogue's Boy Scout Troop 44, which is sponsored by the Congregational Church. The troop also helped distribute food.

"Ride with traffic, not against," reminded Santos as those with bikes in tow left.

"I really like helping him out with bikes. It touches me because I know that I'm helping other people," said Jonah.

The rest of the bikes were gently used and were repaired and tested for safety by the mechanics.

At the start of the day the place was packed wall to wall with those eager to acquire a much-needed mode of transportation to ride to work, find a job or simply pedal to the store.

Many philanthropic organizations took part in the day: The Salvation Army was there offering coffee, donuts, sandwiches and handing out blankets. United Health Care was also present. Long Island Cares Inc. - The Harry Chapin Food Bank were outside in their Mobile Outreach Resource Enterprise van giving out emergency food, and partnered with LIPA for the Heat and Eat Program.

"It's been a very productive morning," said Jessica Rosati, director of programs for Long Island Cares. "It's a pretty neat partnership. We're very grateful for the church. It's a green solution, and it's a community service for getting people together to do something."

The money used for the bicycles wasn't from the church's coffer, although some people from the church did donate. Wolter solicited support from individuals in the community.

Rev. Ann Van Cleef, pastor of Orient Congregational Church, came to show her support for the Patchogue church's efforts on behalf of the underprivileged.

"We heard about this, and several of our church members had bicycles," Van Cleef said. "The idea was so good I wish I had it. People are out there in tears. I heard someone saying, 'I prayed for a bicycle and God led me here.'"

Councilman Tim Mazzei said, "I wanted to come down to see how successful it was; obviously it's very successful. Dwight does a lot of good things in the community."

Michelle McDuffie from Central Islip, like many others who were fortunate enough to leave with a bike, can now ride to work instead of walking or taking the bus.

"I feel so blessed. I'm very, very happy. If I had the money, I would do the same to help those that are less fortunate," McDuffie said.

Wolter was pleased that there was not a long line when they ran out of bikes.

"I feel that our effort was a success, the number of bikes given away, the politeness of the people on line; people just being grateful to get in," Wolter said.

The reverend would like to organize a teenage Workers Without Wheels for high school students who are old enough to work, but don't yet have a license.

"I'd love to do it again; the need is clearly there," Wolter said.

Jo January 08, 2012 at 03:35 AM
Really great!

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