Proving hope to the community

The Gate City Bike Co-op has become an integral part of the community, providing free bicycles and bicycle repairs to the city low-income residents.

The Co-op, though, now finds itself in need, as the Nashua Soup Kitchen & Shelter plans to convert its Spring Street space into transitional housing, filling yet another void in the community. The dilemma is, that’s the space the Co-op uses to do its noble and much-needed work.

While some may not view a bicycle as vital transportation, it certainly is for the Co-op’s many clients.

“What this represents is year-round reliable transportation to a slice of the Nashua area,” Co-op co-founder John Burkitt said.

Gate City has, thus far, provided more than 500 free bicycles to low-income and at-risk residents. They also have repaired more than 250 bicycles brought in by clients. Each bicycle given away by the Co-op costs them about $30, and all labor for repairs is in-kind by more than 20 mechanics, who rotate in and out of the Co-op’s donated space.

With the Soup Kitchen’s decision to move forward on its transitional housing project, the Co-op is in need of assistance in finding a new location to continue its work. The hope is to find someone in the community who can provide a space, of a couple thousand square feet, that would be easily accessible to clients and easy to move bicycles in and out of.

While the Co-op has about a year to find that new space, we hope someone in the community will step forward to help those who are assisting our fellow Nashua residents.

“John and I came to the same conclusion at about the same time, months after this was started, and that was, we’re not just providing bikes, helmets and locks,” Co-op co-founder Don Pare said. “We’re providing hope.”

They certainly are, and we hope someone will help them continue their mission.