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Rice Bikes partners with organization to help refugees

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By Evan Shegog     2/25/16 5:42pm

Rice Bikes is working to expand its involvement in the Houston community, partnering with an organization called Freewheels to help refugees in Houston, according to general manager Madeleine Pelzel.

“Freewheels is a nonprofit organization that approached us [Rice Bikes] to help them,” Pelzel, a Lovett College sophomore, said.

Freewheels, started by the Christ the King Lutheran Church, gives bicycles to refugees who have just arrived in Houston.



“Refugees have no license or access to vehicle,” Pelzel said. “Freewheels provides them with bicycles which provide much-needed transportation.”

Freewheels receives bikes from local donations, and sends them to Rice Bikes for repair.

“People donate unwanted bikes to Freewheels,” Pelzel said. “[Freewheels] then sends us any bikes that need overhaul. They also send us donated money to fix the bikes on a discount agreement.”

The bikes are fixed between scheduled service appointments and given back to Freewheels to hand out on distribution days.

“We have fixed about 20 to 30 bikes for Freewheels,” Pelzel said. “These bikes are then distributed in conjunction with other supplies (helmets, lights, etc.) to refugees mostly from Syria.”

Ultimately Rice Bikes hopes to continue this partnership to help ease the transition for refugees, according to Pelzel.

“Rice Bikes' goal is to be an integral part of this organization,” Pelzel said. “Rice students always have a desire to help, and this is a tangible way to do it. The refugee crisis is a large global issue that we are happy to help with.”

“We began helping Freewheels in the late fall, and continued in the spring,” Pelzel said. “Rice Bikes hopes to continue this partnership as long as Freewheels is going.”



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