Freewheels Houston—launched at Christ the King Church in 2015—is marking its eighth anniversary and celebrating freedom through bikes for 2,000 refugees, veterans emerging from homelessness and young people from low-income families.
The Freewheels volunteer crew invites members of the congregation to join our celebration on Saturday, Nov. 18—during CTK Festival Weekend. The event will occur during the Freewheels volunteer shop day from 9 a.m. to noon at 6020 Jessamine, No. 204.
We want to thank the congregation for its unwavering support through prayers, bike donations, volunteering and financial contributions from members as well as the Christ the King Foundation.
In the first nine months of 2023, Freewheels distributed bikes that provide a way to work or school for 400 people, and we are on track to exceed record output of 452 bikes delivered during 2022. Every weekend, volunteers repair bikes and refugees and others come to get bikes as well as helmets and locks.
CTK members launched the ministry with donations of 15 used bikes. We enlisted volunteers from BikeHouston and mechanics from Rice Bikes to repair the bikes and distributed them to refugees from Syria, Iraq, Nepal, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Myanmar at a picnic at Burnett-Bayland Park in the Gulfton neighborhood during CTK Festival Weekend.
The all-volunteer organization persevered through changes in refugee policy, COVID-19 and other challenges to increase our impact and expand horizons:
In 2017, at the urging of the consortium of refugee resettlement agencies, Freewheels leased shop space in Gulfton, near the apartment complexes where many refugees start new chapters of their lives in Houston.
In 2023, we have increased our capacity by building new bikes. Students from Strake Jesuit, the Breakthrough Houston student success program, corporations and law firms have built bikes. Twenty Afghan refugees have assembled their own bikes at the Freewheels shop.
Grants from the Baxter Trust and the Scott Wizig Family Fund at Greater Houston Community Foundation enabled Freewheels to purchase bikes as well as lease additional space for bike build activities.
Freewheels welcomes everyone who wants to help is accomplished by volunteers at our Friday and Saturday shop days; knowledge of bike repair is not a requirement. If you have questions, please contact Bill Mintz, firstname.lastname@example.org; Bill Chapman, email@example.com, or David West, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please attend the Nov. 18 celebration of our work together to welcome refugees and less-fortunate neighbors.