CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD)- One year ago, local teacher Katie Blomquist set out on a mission to raise enough money to buy a bicycle for every student at Pepperhill Elementary. The project was such a success, it transformed into the nonprofit organization Going Places and is continuing to spread joy to disadvantaged children in the Lowcountry.
To many kids, a bike is just another toy in the garage. To a child who can't have one, it's so much more.
Founder of Going Places, Katie Blomquist, says, "It's something of ownership for them to be prideful over, it's childhood and innocence when possibly that's been taken from them."
The Owner of bike shop Affordabike, Daniel Russell- Einhorn, says, "These kids may have undesirable home lives and they need a way to escape, to get to a park, get to a friend's house. And a bike is the perfect tool for that."
In the past year, Going Places has given bikes to 700 children. Their goal is to give a bike to every child in Charleston County Title One Elementary School. They are one step closer after 40 volunteers came together to build 300 more bikes.
Blomquist says, "Everybody is sweating and it's like a well oiled machine here. I'm just so grateful that all of these strangers came out today, and read about it in the news, and felt the value in coming to help build these bikes for kids."
This is the first time Going Places has opened up bike building to volunteers, and received an overwhelming response.
Blomquist says, "It makes me want to cry. It's so nice. All these people care so much."
These bicycles are designed for Going Places by Affordabike. They are called "The Purpose" and will fit every child in the elementary school. Russell-Einhorn says each bike is designed with a specific community in mind. The bikes going to the school on Johns Island have a wider tire for rural roadways.
He says, "It might be a similar shape of the frame, but we will tailor the components to match where the kids will be riding."
These 300 bikes will be given to children at Mt. Zion Elementary on May 1st. If you want to get involved with future Going Places projects, click here.