SPRINGFIELD, Ohio (WDTN) – A bicycle group’s pit stop here Tuesday wasn’t a restful one. Several dozen members of the Fuller Center for Housing Bike Adventure tour traded pedals for power tools and wheels for paint rollers in a day of charity work.
The group is almost three-quarters through a cross-country bike route from Ocean Beach, California to Ocean City, New Jersey. The team started on the West Coast on June 1st, riding an average of 75 miles per day, scheduling in seven volunteer ‘build days’ with Fuller Center locations along the way.
The Fuller Center for Housing, an offshoot non-profit of Habitat for Humanity, uses volunteer labor to build or restore houses and offer zero-interest mortgages to low-income families.
In Clark County, the Springfield-based Fuller Center is hoping to simultaneously address growing blight issues and a shortage of affordable housing.
“There’s a huge need here in Clark County,” explained David Clem, the executive director for the Clark County Fuller Center. “There are so many vacant and abandoned homes and there are so many families that need a home to live in.”
Clem said the group of biking volunteers was welcome help. They spread out to sand walls and paint at two separate housing renovation projects, and refinished the front desk at the Springfield YMCA.
Trip leader Joel Derksen said the group takes pride in not only the extraordinary bike mileage, but also in giving back to the communities along its route.
“We not only have a chance to bike across the country and see the country in an incredible way, but also to be able to stop at different people’s homes and really have the chance to have an incredible impact on the communitiies we come through as well,” Derksen said.
The team homes to reach its final destination by mid-August.
Since the initiative started in 2008, it’s raised $2 million and at least 1,100 riders have ridden over 900,000 miles.
You can contribute to the Bike Adventure and follow their progress here.
To learn more about the Clark County Fuller Center for Housing, including how to volunteer or how to apply to become a homeowner, you can call (937) 325-2514 or click here.