By Jennifer Ortiz
PLUMSTED – With the support of their fellow residents, a group of young people in Plumsted Township collected more than 80 bicycles in an effort that will benefit the Boys and Girls Club of Trenton.
Dominic Esposito, 16, the president of Plumsted Youth for Nature and the Environment (PYNE), said he came up with the idea of a bicycle drive after noticing that many people discard usable bicycles.
The “Ride It Forward” initiative was the result.
“PYNE members run recycling drives each year to help the environment, so I decided to look into it. After some research, I learned how the Trenton Bike Exchange refurbishes used bikes to benefit the Boys and Girls Club of Trenton,” Dominic said. “I contacted the general manager of the Trenton Bike Exchange, Ira Saltiel, and they were happy to partner with PYNE for the bike drive”
The young man said 82 bicycles were collected between May and June.
Collections were held at the Plumsted municipal building and at New Egypt Day, and PYNE also picked up bicycles from people who could not drop one off.
Dominic, who will be a junior at Christian Brothers Academy, Lincroft, said his grandfather drove him to pick up bicycles that were donated by residents of Plumsted, Cream Ridge, Jackson, Howell, Upper Freehold Township and other nearby communities.
“I kept most of the bikes in my yard and Mary and Jon Dancer of New Egypt were kind enough to let us use their large trailer to store some,” he said. “I set a goal of collecting 40 bikes, but was thrilled to receive calls and emails from so many people. The Bike Exchange was super-excited when I told them we collected 82 bikes.”
The donated bicycles will be refurbished by volunteers at the Bike Exchange and sold at affordable prices, with proceeds going to the Boys and Girls Club of Trenton.
“The mission of the Bike Exchange is to help low-income families and individuals get decent bikes at a low cost, and to raise money for the after-school programs of the Boys and Girls Club of Trenton. The mission of the Boys and Girls Club is to enable young people to develop their full potential as productive, caring and responsible citizens. The club provides a safe haven, academic enrichment and recreational activities through after-school, weekend and summer programs,” Dominic said.
The PYNE president thanked everyone who donated a bicycle during the Ride It Forward effort.
“Many of the bikes were in amazing shape. I continue to be inspired by people in our New Jersey communities who are interested in helping the less fortunate by participating in PYNE’s recycling drives throughout the year,” Dominic said.