HARTFORD, Conn. — South Green Park just off Main Street was buzzing with police officers from 13 different agencies from all over Western Massachusetts and Connecticut.
Their mission? To deliver rebuilt bikes for Hartford’s homeless population. The project was a collaboration between Bob Charland, a Hampden County Massachusetts deputy, and Hartford Police officer Jim Barrett.
Charland, know as “Bob the Bike Man” began his bike project four years ago, since then he has delivered thousands of rebuilt bikes to the less fortunate.
“It might just be a bike,” said Charland, “but it’s transportation, it’s a way for them to get around, it’s a way for them to have freedom.”
Charland noted that the convoy gifted 101 free bikes for Hartford’s homeless men and women.
Officer Barrett, who serves the Hartford Police Department as an outreach liaison for the city’s homeless population said, “I have a lot of working homeless today and this is going to help them out with a bike.”
Troopers from the Connecticut State Police were on hand to help, as were officers from Enfield, Lee, Massachusetts, West Springfield, and Holyoke to name just a few.
All the officers worked together to hand out bikes and backpacks full of food and supplies for the more than one hundred homeless people who showed up.
Lined up for a free bike was Rob Boroch, who walks over an hour each day from Hartford to his job as a baker in Windsor.
Baroch said, “with a bike, it will cut it down to about 15 or 20 minutes, this is huge.” Officer Barrett added, “this is a home run for these guys to springboard them… this is amazing.”
Deputy Charland’s organization is called “Peddle Thru Youth” – you can find out more here.
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