How long have you been hosting B&B teams on your sites?
We first hosted B&B during the summer of 2015. A group returned in 2016 and then again in 2019.
Why do you continue to invite our teams back to work with you each year?
Your teams bring excitement and energy to our communities when they are here! It also helps us bring attention locally to the various projects we are working to accomplish.
What sort of projects have our teams volunteered on over the years?
Housing demo in preparation for a remodel, painting a storefront in downtown Stafford, painting bleachers for the Stafford County Fair, demo in Gray Photo Studio in St. John (an historic building that is being restored as an art center that includes an apartment for a resident artist), assembling cabinets that are in a mixed use downtown development that include a shared work space /workforce training program / and affordable housing for AmeriCorps members or interns, and painting the interior of the shared work space as well as laying some carpet squares.
Do you have a favorite memory with Bike & Build?
We like to share some of our local culture and the opportunity to learn about this part of the country in addition to housing issues When the riders come through it is late June or early July, which usually coincides with wheat harvest. So, for the “evening activity” we’ve taken them to a wheat field to talk with a farmer as well as see how the process works at the local flour mill. Some B&B riders have had the opportunity to ride in a combine or a semi truck delivering wheat to the grain elevator. We also plan a picnic supper of Bierrocks, which we would consider a somewhat -unique local fare. It is ground beef, cabbage, and carrot baked in a bread pocket, and is reflective of the local German heritage. We always enjoy the excitement of the B&B team members when we have the opportunity to take them to the wheat field during harvest. Most have never seen or been inside a piece of farm machinery when it’s operating.
Build Days provide an invaluable experience for our riders to learn about affordable housing, meet families and beneficiaries and reflect on the state of housing across the U.S. What (if at all) do you think the impact on your community and organization is when our teams come through?
Your team is a powerful resource that helps us accomplish several days’ worth of work in ONE day. I believe our community members see it as an eye-opening experience… that a group of about 30 individuals are willing to dedicate their time to affordable housing while biking the U.S.