Maple Grove Woman Collects 800 Bikes for Kids In Need
A Maple Grove woman spent the past year collecting more than 800 bikes for underserved kids and families in Minnesota.
Deb Fortner comes home everyday with bikes she finds on curbsides, Facebook, Craigslist and the Nextdoor neighborhood networking app. She stores all the bikes on pallets covered by blue tarps in her yard.
Fortner started collecting for the Free Bikes 4 Kidz (Kidz with a z) program four years ago but every year the number of bikes she gathers increases.
“Little kid comes in, get their helmet, they’re thrilled. They get on the bikes, we adjust it and make sure it’s safe for them, just for that particular kid. They’re smiling and happy. And you’re happy,” explained Fortner’s husband, Tom.
Fortner said she believes a single bike can change a life.
“That’s my hope, that a bike would give them opportunity to whether it’s getting themselves to work or getting to the playground, ride with their friends, lead a better lifestyle, just all that opportunity is my hope,” she said.
Through the collection, a wealth of bikes were salvaged from the landfill. Fortner said it’s another way to help the environment by repurposing the items.
“It is worth every ounce of energy, every minute you spend collecting them because it’s so rewarding,” said Fortner.
The bikes Fortner collected will be dropped off at the old Target on Single Creek Parkway in Brooklyn Center. From there, it’ll be refurbished and presented to Free Bikes 4 Kidz on Saturday, Oct. 3.