In an effort to boost productivity and leave a greater impact on the community, an organization known as Bikers Helping Others spearheaded a partnership with other local non-profit groups.
Valerie Canigiani, treasurer of Bikers Helping Others, said that their goal is to provide enough food for families until January of next year.
The organization, located in Smithton, Pennsylvania, just recently achieved non-profit status, according to Canigiani, but they have been organizing and serving the community informally for six years.
Their organization takes care of families in the region, specifically around the holiday season, providing groceries, toys and toiletries.
Canigiani said in past years, they have had one day open for donations to receive items for the families they are providing to.
This year, Bikers Helping Others has expanded their donation strategy, with a total of 23 boxes at different donation drop-off locations throughout the region.
The boxes are utilized from now until Christmas, for people to make donations.
In addition to the drop-off locations, Canigiani said there is also an Amazon wish-list open for donations for those who cannot travel to the donation sites.
“We try to try and cover a wide variety of areas to make it convenient for people to drop off [items],” Canigiani said. “For people who can’t get to the boxes can just go on Amazon, there’s no shipping charges and it comes right our door.”
Canigiani noticed in past years, the organization’s greatest struggle was obtaining enough donations.
She contacted the Salvation Army in Monessen, Pennsylvania, and found they have the same issue. Bikers Helping Others plan to improve the amount of donations this year by partnering with Salvation Army, in Monessen, and Bag Brigade, located in Belle Vernon.
“I talked with the Salvation Army and found out they have the same problem we do, there’s never enough donations,” Canigiani said.
Canigiani said once their organization is able to retain enough items to provide for their families, they plan to donate the rest of the food items to the Salvation Army and Bag Brigade.
The region Bikers Helping Others covers reaches a little further than the Mon Valley, and Canigiani said they plan to cover as much as the area as possible.
“We just thought if we all work together, we really could help a bunch of families this holiday season, versus our normal 10 or 12, and that we really reach out and help a bunch of families,” Canigiani said.
Canigiani said she hopes the partnership will result in a significant increase in donations, which could make an even bigger difference in the local communities.
“I would love to have enough to cover the Salvation Army for three or four months for their food bank and the same thing with the Bag Brigade,” Canigiani said. “I hope that we are able to carry all three organizations through the holidays, maybe until January.”
Canigiani said that being a small organization can hinder the known need for donations, but getting to work with other groups can make a major difference.
“This is something we’ve never done before,” Canigiani said. “To work with Salvation Army and the Bag Brigade is honestly something we didn’t plan to do, but it’s amazing because you can see that if three organizations work together, how much more we can accomplish.”