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First Presbyterian Church, Livermore — Livermore, California

First Presbyterian Church, Livermore, partners with Kids Bike Lane each year to build bikes for under-served and at-risk youth.

First Presbyterian Church, Livermore has a banner that reads, “A church is not a place where, but a people who” and embodies this statement with many hands-on mission projects throughout the year. Whether it’s bagging rice and beans, building houses in Mexico or supporting local refugee families you’ll find members putting their faith into action. Our faith empowers us to make a difference in our community as we volunteer in local schools and non-profits.

In December, we partner with Kids Bike Lane (KBL) for their annual Big Bike Build (BBB). KBL believes that everyone should be able to experience the enjoyment of having and riding their own bicycle. KBL raises funds to provide bicycles to under-served and at-risk youth, and young adults in Alameda and Contra Costa counties, offer free bike repair clinics and provide adaptive bikes to special-needs riders.

Five members of FPCL serve on the Kids Bike Lane board of directors. In addition to the mission team’s financial support, the church provides KBL with meeting space and encourages FPCL families to become involved in Kids Bike Lane events.

On December 2, community members and more than 40 church members filled two buildings at the Alameda County Fairgrounds, working together to make the Christmas wishes of 638 kids come true. More than 40 church members put their faith into action in all aspects of the Big Bike Build. The registration team checked in 250 volunteers. Families and couples assembled bikes which were then checked by the quality control mechanics. The Green Team collected the boxes and got them into dumpsters. Kids moved bikes to the charities area, where local charities arrived to pick up bikes and helmets to be given to their clients.

Receiving a brand-new bike can be life-changing. The youth KBL serves are the kings and queens of hand-me-downs. Receiving a brand-new bike builds pride and self-esteem and enables young people to get to school and jobs on time and be on a more level playing field with their peers. One young man said, “Because of my bike, I started getting to school on time, I got caught up in my classes and realized I could graduate high school. I’m the first person in my family to graduate from high school.” As we assembled each bike, we imagined the young person who would receive it and how it might empower them. What a great way to begin Advent with our church family!

I’m so thankful to be part of a church where we are encouraged and supported in finding ways to live out our faith by actively making a difference in the world.