UNION COUNTY, N.C. — Tom Williamson never imagined his garage would one day become a bike shop.
There are kid bikes, street bikes, mountain bikes, but they all don’t belong to Williamson.
They’re all for his organization called Ride Again Bicycle Ministries.
Williamson came up with the idea after attending a men’s retreat and realized he wanted to better utilize his time by helping his community.
“Here in Union County we don’t have public transportation, so that’s where I kind of got the idea to provide bikes to the shelter for their clients and they can use them for getting to their jobs or wherever it is they need to get,” he says.
After work Williamson spends his time fixing up donated bikes. He’ll load them up in his van where he ends up delivering them to different organizations, police departments, and community shelters.
Melissa McKeown, the CEO of the Union County Community Shelter, says these bikes make a major difference for those who live in the county.
“It allows them to get to interviews for jobs,” she says. “It allows them to get to jobs. It allows them to get to the doctor's office or wherever they need to go. It’s a piece of independence that we can’t give any other way.”
Williamson has already given away more than 70 bikes, with many of them going to the shelter.
Having reliable transportation is something not everyone can relate to, but Williamson says he’s working to change that one bike at a time.
This year Williamson has given away over 10 bikes. His goal is to donate 45.
If you have a new or used bike you want to donate to the Ride Again Bicycle Ministries, you can send Williamson an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact him through the group’s Facebook page.