You know that phrase “bad things happen in threes”? Hopefully, this is the third and final for a very long time. This morning (8/23) a portion of the Lemp Brewery building where we store the majority of the bicycles donated to us through bike drives and more collapsed right on top of the hundreds of stored bicycles. We are extremely lucky that no volunteers or staff had been at the building during the collapse.
Given other recent challenges, and the passing of longtime volunteer and board member Roger Schallom last weekend, the storage collapse is another huge blow.
We had about 700 bikes in the building — around the most we store at any given time. Roughly 350 of them were kids’ bikes, many of which would have become the cherished prizes for graduates of our flagship Earn-A-Bike program. Another 200 adult bikes were destined for other local and international nonprofits to be used for transportation, and still another 100 adult bikes were to be refurbished and sold to help fund our nonprofit and keep our youth programs free to families in our community.
We typically bring dozens of bikes at a time to our nearby classroom facility and bike shop so staff/volunteers can refurbish them for a variety of purposes. During the pandemic, we’ve been storing even more bikes than usual at the Lemp facility, as well as working out of there for better social distancing. We are so grateful that no one was in the space when it collapsed.
We are also grateful for the outpouring of concern and offers of bike donations we’ve seen from the amazing St. Louis community within hours of the news. We do have the ability to store some bicycles in our main building in Soulard. If you have a bicycle to donate, you can drop it off there — currently our hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays. Please ring the bell when you arrive. (For any questions or to drop off bikes after hours, email email@example.com for more information.)
Our priority right now is finding a new warehouse space — preferably close to our Soulard location, with an outside dock, and within our small nonprofit budget (all things this one was).
In the meantime, monetary donations are a huge help as we find our way forward and also continue to have a great need for computer supplies for our ongoing Earn-A-Computer youth program (especially in this age of distance learning and digital divides).
Eager to help? We’ve linked to an online option for donating in a link above. You can also send a check to St. Louis BWorks (2414 Menard St., St. Louis, MO 63104).