Waterloo Rotary needs bike donations for Nicaragua - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Waterloo Rotary needs bike donations for Nicaragua

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -

The Waterloo Rotary Club has been supplying bicycles to families in the poverty-stricken country of Nicaragua for 10 years now.  This year, the club is launching a new partnership to help fix donated bikes and get them shipped to Central America.

At the Boys and Girls Club of the Cedar Valley, students are learning some new hands-on skills this week.

"It's actually pretty fun because I want to become a mechanical engineer.  So I'm getting to work with a lot of stuff," said Mujo Avdic, Boys & Girls Club participant.

Each of the donated bicycles they're working with are inspected, and minor repairs are made if needed.  Then the bikes get put into boxes, and begin their long shipping journey to Nicaragua.

The Waterloo Rotary Club has done its pedaling project for a decade.  But this is the first time students at the Boys and Girls Club have pitched in, and it's proving a worthwhile and rewarding opportunity.

"We have kids getting positive reinforcement from the adults that come down to work with them.  They get to help out the community.  They get to help out somebody else in need, and then also learn a skill.  So how could you say no to something like that?" said Chuck Rowe, executive director of the Boys & Girls Club of the Cedar Valley.

In 10 years, the club has donated hundreds of bikes to both adults and children in Nicaragua. It's a critical tool in the very poor Central American country, where bikes are the primary way of getting around.  Ken Cutts has even had the chance to travel there and see how the gifts get put to good use.

"It's a fantastic gift.  In fact, you can't hardly turn a corner there without seeing a bike the Rotary's probably donated:  big bikes, little bikes.  Some of the bikes are even converted into things where they sell bananas off of, or crates," said Ken Cutts with the Waterloo Downtown Rotary Club.

To keep this project going, the rotary club is looking for donations.

"You know, bicycles are not meant to hang in garages.  They're meant to be used.  So if you have a bike that you'd like to donate to the Boys and Girls Club and Rotary Club, working together, give us a call and we'll pick up that bicycle," said Cutts.

That allows volunteers the chance to keep their wheels in motion, to help families in need.  Members of the Waterloo Rotary Club make trips to Nicaragua a few times each year to see their gifts in action.

If you'd like to donate a bicycle to help their efforts, contact either the Rotary Club at (319) 234-1440 or the Boys and Girls Club at 234-2839.

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