Effort supports Angel Tree and Homeless 2 Home programs
By Robert Brennan –
This year, roughly 60 Ventura-area children and teenagers signed up for The Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program will find something special under the Christmas tree—a gleaming, refurbished bike, courtesy of the HUB Community Bike Shop in Ventura.
The HUB Bike Shop, launched by local nonprofit Ventura Climate Care Options Organized Locally (VCCool), has donated hundreds of hours to restore bikes for some deserving boy or girl when the Ventura Corps has its toy distributions on Dec. 21-22.
“We want to get people out of cars and onto bikes, and if we can start that process early, with kids, then we will be making great progress,” said Toby Smith, professional bike mechanic and volunteer at VCCool since 2008. “To be able to provide these bikes to kids who would otherwise not be able to afford a bike, is what our organization and The Salvation Army is all about.”
The bike program isn’t just about Christmas time either. Adults who have encountered The Salvation Army in Ventura, especially through its homeless outreach and support program, Homeless 2 Home, are sometimes offered available bikes for transportation. These bikes can help clients get to a job interview and a chance for a fresh start to life.
Ventura Corps Officer Lt. Fabio Simoes envisions the relationship with HUB Bike Shop growing.
“Cooperative relationships like the one we enjoy with the HUB Community Bike Shop make it possible for The Salvation Army to serve more people in Ventura,” Simoes said. “And for that, we are truly thankful.”