Jerrold Petkau, left, director of the Manna Homeless Society’s bicycle distribution program, delivers a bike to a thankful recipient in Parksville recently. — Photo submitted by Manna Homeless Society

Parksville’s Manna embarks on spring bike share campaign

Homeless society seeks donations of cycles to assist transportation needs

The weather has finally turned and bike season has blossomed into full gear.

Each spring, with the assistance of donations from the community, Manna Homeless Society works to help friends gain transportation independence to acquire groceries, fulfill medical appointments, and gain regular employment. Transportation is often a luxury unattainable for people impoverished, said Jerrold Paetkau, head of the Manna Homeless Society’s bike share program.

Rides from outlying areas such as Coombs, Errington, or Whiskey Creek are hard to find. Walking into town for a Salvation Army lunch or doctor’s appointment is an all-day adventure, while hitchhiking is time-consuming and potentially filled with challenges.

“This past year, some of the people we were able to assist included a young woman with a bike that allowed her to complete a job interview and begin working full-time,” said Paetkau.

“Another friend received a bike and was able to journey from the house where he was couch-surfing to regular doctor’s appointments treating his drug addictions. A senior could no longer afford to drive a car, and a bike made it possible to get around to the grocery stores and shops in town.

“Every bike handed out by Manna Society goes to a ‘story’ — someone dedicated to addressing the needs in their life — and recognizing that a gift of transportation provides hope.”

Manna Homeless Society asks that people consider donating your unused bike. Staff and volunteers will pick it up and make sure it is passed on to the right person.

“And thank you to all who have donated bikes in the past and provided a means for hope to be restored,” said Paetkau.

For info or to donate, contact Manna at 250-248-0845 or visit www.mannahs.com.

— Manna submission

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