Bikes Donated To Aid Shelter Residents in Transporting to and From Job Interviews
Andrew Magee, Criminal Justice Department Coordinator at Louisiana College and Sunday School Teacher at River Outreach Church, and Bobette Lowe, a member of Magee’s Sunday School class, team up every month to host community feedings and giveaways in the Alexandria, Louisiana community. The themes change each month, ranging from community hair cuts, essential winter giveaways, and more. Their latest outreach involved donating ten bicycles to The Salvation Army of Alexandria, Bibles, and a meal consisting of red beans and rice, cornbread, and cake to those in need in Alexandria.
A majority of the homeless community who gather near the levee where Lowe and Magee distribute food and goods are residents of The Salvation Army, so the two decided to donate ten bikes to the corps to aid residents in traveling to and from job interviews. The bikes will provide flexibility to residents so that they do not have to rely on a public transportation schedule or risk being late due to having to walk to interviews. Residents will be able to rent bikes daily so that everyone at the shelter has an opportunity to utilize the gift.
“The Salvation Army is more than thankful to Andrew and Bobette for their generous donation. These bikes will aid our residents in finding employment and securing a brighter future for themselves,” stated Major Tim Williford, The Salvation Army Alexandria Corps Officer.
Lowe and Magee have grown to know the homeless community well by distributing food once a month and passing out blessing bags at the beginning of COVID-19. The kits consisted of jars of peanut butter, crackers, and juices to keep those in need full until they reach the next destination of feeding.
“It was laid on my heart to help people who are trying to help themselves. We wanted to give a hand up, not a handout. The bikes are to aid in residents securing jobs. The feedings are because God tells us that we should feed one another, whether it’s with knowledge or food,” Lowe shared.
“We held an event before last winter, where we filled backpacks with blankets, gloves, and winter essentials. We’ve also invited beauticians out onto the levee to give haircuts and makeovers to the homeless. We made GQ models out of some of the guys. The glow that a lot of them had after getting a haircut was unbelievable. They were so grateful, and it was so refreshing for them. We hope to do that one again,” Magee added.
“These are the people that Jesus witnessed to.”
Magee and Lowe rotate their feedings with other churches, usually taking on the third Saturday of each month. They also do closet cleanups, where they set up tables filled with clothes and other goods. There are even some stores in the area that will inform them when items are going on sale to provide what they can for the homeless. These tables are set up at every community feeding.
“We’ve built a relationship with the homeless community. They know our vehicles, and when they see us, they know we are coming to show love to them and bring them goods,” Lowe said.
“These are the people that Jesus witnessed to. He didn’t go to the All Saints churches. He went to the streets and found the needy. That’s who He loved on and fed. And in His word, we can learn more of His likeness, and that’s the goal; to show his word to others and to be more in his likeness,” Lowe added.
Magee and Lowe would like others to get involved, whether it’s feeding the community or donating bike supplies to the Army.
“I’d like to vocalize to the community that they can take part in this as well. There’s always room to improve and give back. People in the community can get involved by helping with the bikes’ upkeep. —Inner tubes for flat tires, bike helmets, chains, and other supplies. Just swing by the shelter and donate what you can. In my heart, I believe this should be a community effort and it becomes important for the church to connect with the community. Help by action. Just bring your donations to Major Williford,” Magee added.