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Bworks warehouse collapses.

Donation page: https://www.paypal.com/donate/?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=PVA6UW7WUHJKG&source=url 

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 info@bworks.org 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). 

Thank you. 

St. Louis BWorks has been staying busy for the past 9 weeks.

Much like many of you have been learning new practices or honing skills, so has St. Louis BWorks. For the past several weeks, we have been adapting and learning what it will take for BWorks to continue our legacy of helping youth in our region for another 30 years. Our volunteers and staff have been working hard, albeit mostly behind the scenes these days, to readjust while continuing to support St. Louis area youth. The adjustments include learning to work and volunteer remotely, creating and implementing online courses, and determining new ways to offer our bicycle-related retail products.

What we’re doing

Programs 

We continue to offer our Earn-A-Computer program online so students can learn remotely. 

Our bike program is working to release a handful of projects that we hope our students will enjoy. Our first, what we think is fun and educational, project can be found here and involves youth helping redesign closed streets and being eligible for prizes. 

We continue to donate bicycles to various other nonprofits to be distributed in the community.

After discussions with other schools and the local health experts, our earliest possible reopening of in-person programs will be mid-July.  

Contact for programs: Linda.Tuch@Bworks.org 

Contact for donations: Patrick.Van.Der.Tuin@Bworks.org

Volunteering

Physical volunteering in our building will continue to be suspended. We are, however, starting to work with a few volunteers to arrange taking material or tools to volunteer from home. Our big needs on the bicycle side right now are adjusting wheels and bike builds. Please let me know if you’re able help with this in some way. Patrick.Van.Der.Tuin@Bworks.org 

Retail

We continue to offer limited retail operations through our website and are attempting to expand this to include bicycle parts. You can reach Steve or Patrick to discuss bicycle sales or Jake (see email addresses below) to discuss what parts you need (or think you need). We will do our best to provide the highest level of support possible. 

We understand bicycle purchases during this time can be hard as we are not allowing test rides, but as always, we have staff willing to help from providing extra pictures to specific measurements. Please do contact one of us. At this time, we are offering store credit if, for some reason, the bicycle does not fit you well, or just won’t work for other reasons.     

For bicycle sales: info@Bworks.org 

For bicycle parts: Jake.Daggett@Bworks.org    

Donations 

Bicycle donations are still needed! We have placed a bicycle rack in front of our building with a series of cable locks on it. You can simply drop off your bicycle donation(s) at any time and use the included locks to secure your donation. We are also continuing to accept donations at these locations as well. 

IF you have multiple computers to donate, we are happy to arrange a bulk curbside pickup; you can email us to discuss this more at info@Bworks.org

What we are NOT doing is opening for walk-in traffic on May 18.

We are taking the CDC guidelines seriously as we care about your health and ours. We will only open our doors to the public when we are confident that we can safely follow best practices outlined by health professionals and not overcrowd or compromise your or our experience in the building. 

We cannot wait until we can see and work with you in person again, but we want to remain safe for all involved with our organization. Until then, thank you for your past and current support of St. Louis BWorks. Please stay safe and we will see you when it’s the right thing for all of us. 

Patrick Van Der Tuin 

Executive Director

Patrick.Van.Der.Tuin@Bworks.org 

www.Bworks.org 

Reimagining Our Streets: St. Louis BWorks Calls For Ideas From Citizens Of All Ages

May is National Bike Month, and with so many quiet streets right now, we thought it would be a good time to reimagine what some of our streets here in the St. Louis region could look like. And we want your — or your child’s — help.

A first pass by 6 year old Max, Includes tables for local restaurants, A place to play bean bag toss and a dedicated lane for bicycles and roller skates.

What would Washington Avenue in downtown St. Louis look like if it was covered with picnic tables instead of vehicle traffic? Would Fine Arts Drive next to the Saint Louis Art Museum be better as a street art gallery for chalk drawings? Or maybe with the uptick in walking and biking these days, you have a great idea for making your own neighborhood a better place to hang out. What would your non-motorized street look like?   

St. Louis BWorks believes the world needs good ideas now more than ever, and wants to showcase yours — and give St. Louis-area kids a chance at some cool prizes while we’re at it. Two kids ages 5-12 or 12-18 (one in each age range) will win a refurbished bicycle, light set and a new helmet from BWorks by reimagining what a local street could be. (In addition, the first 100 youth entrants will be rewarded with a free set of blinky safety bike lights.)  Adults are encouraged to enter as well, both for bragging rights and because sometimes adults have good ideas, too. 

Scoring will be based on a system where a total of 30 points is possible: 

  • Overall design and display (1-15 points): We want to see how you can redesign streets. Get creative — we are leaving it up to you to decide if you want to draw this, paint it, build it out of cardboard, paper, legos, etc. It’s your choice! 
  • Choice and complexity of street (1-5 points): Picking a street is important. Consider that a small street with lots of homes might be harder compared to a medium or larger-sized street. Consider who or what businesses or nonprofits are on the street and how they might contribute to your design.  
  • Diversity (1-10 points): Making room for diversity and the wide-ranging abilities and interests of people is important. Consider how you can include different areas for activities that would attract all sorts of folks. For example, your design could include both picnic tables for a restaurant to make the most of a street as well as a path for bicycle riders and/or pedestrians. 

To submit: 

In order to participate in the contest, email your (or your child’s) entry to events@bworks.org with the subject line “Street Party” no later than May 31, 2020, at midnight.

Your entry should include the following: 1) at least two images of what’s been built, created or designed; and 2) at least two paragraphs explaining and describing the ideas (the more details, the better!); 3) the entrant’s name and age, plus the name of a parent/guardian for entrants under 18 years old; and 4) the name of the local street that has been reimagined.
One entry per person, please. Light sets will be awarded to the first 100 youth who enter.  

Coronavirus Impact (Updated 3/16)

Friends of BWorks, 

Like many of you, our attention is focused on the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Our number one priority is the health and wellbeing of our students, volunteers, and staff. We are closely monitoring this situation through guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as local health officials. 

BWorks will temporarily be suspending all public operations till at least 4/3/20. Classes / Volunteering and Retail are all closed. For those of you who have signed children up for classes starting soon, we will contact you through email to discuss your options.    

We have begun increased sanitation measures in our building; including access to more hand sanitizers and cleaning high touch surface areas more often both during the day and at the end of each day.

In addition, we are instituting an expanded employee sick leave policy that will cover all staff that encourages them to make healthy choices and stay at home while sick.  

For the health and safety of others, please be thoughtful about coming into BWorks if you are exhibiting any COVID-19 symptoms including fever, cough, and shortness of breath.

With so many unknowns about the coronavirus, we are erring on the side of caution and following recommendations of our health professionals and will continue to make decisions about current conditions that affect BWorks’ programs and volunteering.

Stay well, 
Patrick Van Der Tuin