Restorative justice ministry doesn’t always mean visiting a prison; Sometimes it’s as simple as donating a bicycle.
Transportation is one of the largest obstacles facing offenders when they’re released. Bike to the Future, a new ministry partnership between Festival of Sharing and New Direction, seeks to provide ex-offenders a bicycle upon reentry. The Department of Corrections and local Columbia Ministry Love INC will aid in finding individuals in need of pedals.
Providing resources after an offender has served their sentence fits seamlessly with one of the three themes of restorative justice work: Restoration in Re-entry. Donating bicycles is a simple way to get started with restorative justice ministry.
“We’re hoping to add one more piece to the puzzle to help churches say, ‘If we can do bikes, then we can also do other restorative justice work,’” Festival Director Angie Olsen said.
Bike to the Future hopes to expand past initial Festival of Sharing donations; they found space to provide a full-fledged bike shop. This way, donated bikes that aren’t in working condition can be repaired and then given to those in need.
Until then, you can bring your bikes to the Festival of Sharing or to the Conference office. The bikes must be in good working condition.