'Our Community' event hands out 55 bikes
An estimated 200 volunteers came together to provide food, services and fun for about 4,000 local residents at the 11th annual Our Community event at Sahalee Park, on Saturday.
Volunteers primarily from local churches fed attendees, repaired bicycles, cut hair, provided medical, dental, vision and hearing screenings, checked pets, entertained with live music, took photos, and set up and staffed a fun Kids Corner.
"I couldn't do it without great volunteers," said organizer Gary Buss, who came up with the idea for the first event back in 2008. "It's the volunteers that really work together to make this go."
This year, volunteers grilled and handed out 2,100 hotdogs — at least 200 more than last year, according to Cris Picar, who was volunteering for the second year. "It's a fun event," he said.
There were also sno-cones, root beer floats, and even some fresh food.
"We gave away 1,200 loaves of bread," said Buss, noting that the Faith Based Network's Food Network supplied "20 cases of bananas, 20 cases of fresh asparagus and probably a dozen cases of apples. The truck came down from Corbett the night before."
Thanks to a variety of groups and individuals, numerous bikes were repaired and given away. "We had 55 new and used bicycles and helmets to match," said Delita Cordes, who helped organize that effort. "We fixed approximately 50. In addition, Phil's Ace Hardware donates all the bicycle parts, Les Schwab sends a man and a truck to help, and Point S does the same, and donates some of the supplies."
Bikes were donated by the Faith Based Network, Ben Keeton, of Point S Tire and Auto Service, Bicycle Re-Source of Bend, Walmart and the community.
Cordes said that a homeless man, with a bike that needed to be repaired, was waiting at the park at 8 a.m., when she arrived to set up for the event's opening at 9 a.m. After the man helped unload all the donated bikes, she said, "I gave him a T-shirt and he helped all day."
Buss recalled another heartwarming occurrence during the bike giveaway that "almost brought me to tears."
"I walked over to one little guy, grinning from ear to ear. He said, 'Our house burned down not too long ago and my brother and I lost our bikes,'" said Buss, who was pleased to see the two get new bikes. "How cool is that? It's the little human interest things that just warm your heart."
"We had great live music all day long; five or six haircutters going from start to finish — haircuts are always very popular; a number of medical teams: Mosaic Medical, St. Charles, Medical Teams International's dental team (local dentists who volunteer their time); Bi-Mart brings their pharmacists and they do blood sugars all day long," said Buss.
Veterinarian Hally Miles-Moore, of Dr. Hally's Veterinary Service, was also busy with vaccinations for pets. "At one time, I saw 21 people in line," said Buss. "She had a lot of people there early."
Buss praised the church community for stepping up and supporting the annual event, which he plans to organize "until I can't do it anymore."
"We're all working together to make it a win-win ... no strings attached," said Buss, who is already looking forward to next year's event. "We just love on the community and give ourselves away."