Happy Monday, everyone! Our Halloween Event + Group Bike Drop to Community Aid Network MN this past weekend was a huge success - a bit of a shock to us since we got our first snow of the season here in Minneapolis last week and Saturday afternoon topped out at a high of 28 degrees. We were fully expecting just a couple folks to make it out due to the weather, but we were joined by 30 bikers on Saturday! Wind, snow, and sleet held off and it ended up being the perfect afternoon for a bike ride! This is the biggest turnout we've had at any of our events since we formally organized in July. We were absolutely blown away.
We started the afternoon off with some Halloween festivities including a bonfire, candy, costumes, bike races, obstacle courses, and free bike tune-ups. Then, we hauled 30+ boxes of diapers, 25+ gallon jugs of laundry detergent, and dozens of bags of lotions, deodorants, dish soaps, shampoos, etc. over to the Minneapolis Institute of Art, headquarters of The Community Aid Network MN. CANMN is a mutual aid coalition of volunteers providing food and supplies to families in the Whittier neighborhood. This organization holds a special place in our hearts because they are deeply rooted in the birth of Bikes & Bites. When we first started delivering supplies via bike in the early summer months, we were working closely with Pimento Relief Services, which is now a part of CANMN. Bikes & Bites has grown drastically since then, thanks to the hard work and support of our community, so it was a surreal full circle moment to be able to show up at CANMN with 30 bikers just a few months later. Check out more awesome photos from the 10/24 on our Facebook and Instagram!
A very special shout out to our new friend and Bikes & Bites member, Nate LeBrun, for making this event as big a success as it was. Nate reached out to us a few weeks back to let us know about his organization called Miles For Change (check it out and get involved, if you can!) For the past few months, Nate has asked his network of family and friends to commit to pledging a specified $ amount to Miles For Change each week for every mile he has biked (average of 100-200 miles per week!) and with these donated funds, Nate has raised thousands of dollars to distribute to local mutual aid organizations such as Southside Harm Reduction, Reclaim the Block, Black Lives Matter Foundation, and many more. Nate was generous enough to choose Bikes & Bites as his focus organization for the last three weeks and Miles For Change raised a total of $1500+ for our past two events. Without the funds Nate raised for us, we would have had very little to bring to Community Aid Network MN.
An ongoing issue we've experienced is the lack of consistency in donations. We've had plenty of bikers sign up to ride with us (which we're so thankful for!) but the amount of riders we have is disproportionate to the amount of supplies we're receiving to donate. Especially as we head into the winter months and anticipate a drop in participation along with an increase of people in need around the Twin Cities, regular donations are crucial. Of course, we're extremely grateful for people like Nate who go above and beyond to make these events happen. But instead of relying on the extreme generosity of 1-2 folks for each event, we'd love to emphasize and refocus our efforts on the original concept/goal of Bikes & Bites - to encourage regular and sustainable giving in our local neighborhoods/communities and to have many neighbors/friends pick up 1-2 items at the store to donate (it adds up quickly!). Our ability to do small daily supply drops to local organizations and encampments has come to a screeching halt due to lack of supplies.
To help us get back on track with donations, we encourage you to continue telling your friends, family, neighbors, and co-workers about us! Spread the word, share our website, social media pages, and supply needs lists, and if you can, continue picking up a couple extra items during your routine shopping trips. With the holiday season quickly approaching, aid is needed around the Twin Cities more than ever. If you have any ideas for how to reach community members and garner more support for donations (whether physical or monetary), please let us know!
Thank you again Nate, our entire Bikes & Bites family, and anyone who has supported us thus far - whether it be through donations, sharing our organization and ideas, biking, behind-the-scenes prep/organizing, or simply just moral support. Bikes & Bites definitely needs continued support to succeed, especially through the next few months, but our organization has grown far beyond what we expected it could ever be, all thanks to our amazing community.
As always, please reach out if you'd like to get involved or have any questions, feedback, concerns, ideas, etc. Happy Halloween! Stay safe!