New Relationships-the HUB
I love working for a nonprofit.
In the business world, anyone who is working in the same field as you are is considered competition. When it comes to nonprofits though, they are partners and friends working toward a similar goal. Often times it is easy to call up a person or a group and say, “Hey, I want to learn more about what you do!” To which they reply, “Come on over.”
Such was the case with my time at The HUB of Detroit. If you were to create a short list of people who are doing good work in the Cass Community, the HUB would be on it. The HUB takes bike donations, does repairs and sells them at low cost back to people in the community. Additionally, they teach classes to students about how to take care of a bike, and once a student finishes their classes, they recieve a free bike. Adults who need a bike or parts for their bike can come, donate time, and upon completion recieve the bike parts that they need. It is a program that has been largely successful and has helped countless people with reliable and affordable transportation.
I emailed this HUB through their website and asked if anyone had anytime to sit down and talk. I recieved a reply from Jason Fiedler, and we made plans for Monday.
The HUB is located only a couple of blocks from our Second and Selden Barbecues and Awakenings Movement, a new church plant meeting in the DSA, one of our partners. I pulled up and knocked on the door–a heavy metal door with a map of the Cass Community painted on it by hand. After a mintue the door opened, “Cole?”
“Yes.” I replied.
Jason pushed the door open and we walked in. He offered to give me a tour of the place. Through several more locked metal doors he took me through the shop that is the store-front, the storage, where they keep their donated bikes, the room where they strip the bikes, the room that is holding the 100+ bikes they are giving away for Christmas and finally the workspace where they teach classes every week.
The place is big, old, drafty and cold. I was expecting something else entirely and was underequipt in my flip flops. Jason, across the table from me, wore a coat, scarf, and gloves.
We talked for a while about the history of the HUB, what they set out to do and how they felt like they were accomplishing those goals. I asked if he had any clue how many bikes they had given away since they started. He was unsure, but knows that they’ve given away 500 kids bikes in the past two years because he decided to start keeping track, but as far as adult bikes, he didn’t know.
From there we talked about the hurdles they are working on: keeping stock, the inability to do pick-ups (since few of the people who work there own cars), and general funding problems. We also tossed around a couple of possibilities as far as projects, ideas and things that we could partner on. I am excited about those options and I am sure will be writing more about those soon.
I left the HUB confident, a little more informed and, again, just excited about the people that God has called up in this city to do great work for a people in need.