Bikes go to a better cause

Bikes go to a better cause

The annual bike fundraiser will help the community and send bikes to Guatemala

The biggest yard sale in the Okanagan will look the same as in previous years for bargain hunters, but a different group benefits from the proceeds.

For the past decade the sale at Kelowna’s St. Charles Garnier Church on Benvoulin has raised money to allow Bicycles for Humanity to pay for shipping of bicycles to Ghana. The African country has recently imposed import duties on used bicycles, making it financially impossible to give bikes to local farmers, nurses and students. In addition the group’s long-time contact in Ghana has retired.

Organizer Keith Germaine has a passion for Africa.

“My wife and I worked in Africa for two years… and we taught there. When we heard they were shipping bikes to Ghana then we just got involved.”

This means that Bicycles for Humanity, which started in Kelowna and has spread to six countries with dozens of chapters, will lose its connection to its founding city.

The gigantic sale takes place at 3645 Benvoulin from 8 to 5 p.m. Saturday, April 22. It includes automobiles, boats, furniture, appliances, bicycles, tools, sporting goods – nearly everything except books and clothes. Sale items will cover the lawn in front and in back of the church and will fill the main hall inside so it is not weather dependent.

As always bikes are a big part of the sale. Some donated bikes go to Guatemala, some will be given away at the sale, many will be distributed to struggling families in Kelowna and some will be sold on April 22.

High-end bikes and other expensive items are sold in a silent auction format with a twist. Any buyer who meets a suggested sale price can take the item away immediately. Otherwise bidding ends at 3 p.m. and best bid below the asking price gets the item.

Funds from the sale now go to a church group that supports the local poor in Kelowna. Many of them will be helping out at the sale. Money also goes to help refugee families in Kelowna.

Donated items worth at least $10, such as summer sporting goods (except golf clubs) can be dropped off any Saturday, 9 to noon, behind the church, next to a Canadian flag. They can even be dropped off between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. the day before the sale (Apr 21). Donation can include bikes, but not books, clothes or particle-board furniture.

For more information contact Germaine at 250-764-2942.