EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSGroup Biking Across Country To Build Homes
from Eyewitness News Online
Reported by: Kera Mashek
Videographer: Shelby Spradling
Reported: Jun. 7, 2014 10:35 PM EDT
Updated: Jun. 7, 2014 10:42 PM EDT
Charleston , Kanawha County , West Virginia
A non-profit group is bicycling from coast to coast this summer on a mission to improve communities. As they pedal, the cyclists make stops in different cities to work with local organizations aim to create more affordable housing, and this year, a Charleston native is along for the ride.
The Kanawha-Putnam chapter of Habitat for Humanity is currently building a home for a family in north Charleston. Volunteers are what make these home builds possible, with more than 400 workers pitching in every year.
"We're helping people who have a need for housing and putting them into a decent home, and it's a great team-building experience," said Bill Andreas with Kanawha-Putnam Habitat for Humanity.
That's exactly why volunteers with the group "Bike and Build" are spending time helping organizations like habitat across the country this summer.
"33 people in spandex riding cross-country, I think says something. And the fact that everyone here is willing to dedicate their summers and esentially physically push themselves across mountains, through rain, and coast to coast," said Jay Epelman, a volunteer from New York.
They started biking from Virginia Beach last month and pedaled their way into Charleston Saturday. Among the volunteers is a WVU student and capital city native.
"I graduate in December, so this is pretty much my last summer to get involved in it, and I just knew that I had to do it," said Emily Sokoloski, volunteer from Charleston.
These volunteers hope as they ride and build, they raise critical awareness about the need for quality, affordable housing everywhere...
"The affordable housing cause is such a widespread problem. It affects every single country, which means it affects every single person in the country," said Epelman.
"It's a great cause and something that really ...everyone needs a home," said Sokoloski.
Habitat is glad for the volunteers' help to give one family the house they need and will earn, through volunteering time at this and other Habitat build sites. When construction is complete, that family will get a no-interest loan, helping them secure a better future with a safe, affordable place to call home.
Every volunteer with the "Bike and Build" group raises at least $4500 for the trip. After leaving West Virginia, they will continue their journey toward the west coast, ending up in Oregon on August 8th.
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