HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – Multiple organizations came together in Holyoke on Wednesday to support the local community, to celebrate National Bike Month.
Not only was this event about bicycles, but it was also about access to food, something the pandemic has had a negative impact on.
Neighbor to Neighbor, Nueva Esperanza, ValleyBike, RadSpringfield, Mass Bike Connecticut River Valley Chapter, and Holyoke Biking and Pedestrian Committee, came together to celebrate on Main Street in Holyoke.
The event provided bicycle education and free tune-ups for anyone who stopped by. As well as free food for those in need.
“Neighbor to Neighbor brings fresh food to the community, something that we want to support- that sustainability because they have to use their transportation, that’s why we’re also supporting the bike initiative here in the community,” Gloria Caballero-Roca, a Neighbor to Neighbor volunteer told 22News.
According to Feeding America, nearly 35 million people were food insecure prior to the start of the pandemic in 2019. Now more than a year later, that number has increased to 42 million.
Neighbor to Neighbor is working to change those numbers in Massachusetts.
“Especially people who have the virus, they can’t go outside and get their own groceries, or especially if they have children or their elderly so we’ve been distributing and delivering food to them,” another volunteer, Ruth I. Garcia said.
Bicycles can also assist in bringing people closer to food. Through the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts, Valley Bikes is offering free annual Access Passes to help bring transportation to those in need.
“We did make sure we put the stations where people could get out of downtown and over to the food and over to the places like these. So we’re trying to work together to make sure the people do have the transportation to get to the food,” Shannon Bliven, community outreach and marketing spokesperson for Valley Bikes.
For more information on Valley Bikes and bike share locations, click here.
For more information on Neighbor to Neighbor, click here.