Toronto is a city of cyclists. The Toronto Bike Brigade pairs volunteers who use pedal power with community organizations that serve isolated, vulnerable people, seniors and health care providers to deliver supplies during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Bike Brigade offers free delivery service for organizations and individuals in need.
It is our goal to safely serve our communities during a time of crisis and beyond. Everyone could use some support sometimes; Toronto cyclists are here to help.
I signed up as a volunteer in March to help those in need. What I didn’t realize was that I was the one in need! I needed meaningful work. Laughter. Life with purpose. I had all this before the pandemic but during the spring of anxiety I had lost more than I knew.
The people who raised their hands for The Bike Brigade and pushed hard on their pedals to go up hills, carried meals down stairs to church halls, had became my family.
“It means a lot to me personally to be part of a community during a time where a lot of us feel helpless, alone and many of us are unemployed or under employed,” adds Rachel Wang, another volunteer who is now the Executive Director AND selected for The C40 Women4Climate Mentorship Programme.
The Bike Brigade riders deliver everything from prepared meals, food essentials, medications, pet food and other essential items to people who are unable to pick up these items themselves.
With a community of 500 plus volunteer bikers, we offer our delivery services free for equity-seeking groups across Toronto, including FoodShare, Black Lives Matter TO, Toronto Drop-in Network, Parkdale People’s Economy and the People’s Pantry. Between March and September 2020, we replaced cars and trucks in delivering $16,000 worth of groceries, 2,000 food boxes, and 1,200 hot meals.
Additionally, we have been requested to marshall peaceful marches and demonstrations for organizations like Black Lives Matter.
“Cyclists are a really strong force in our community in Toronto,” says David Shellnutt “We just want to thank those community organizations. We’re here to support you.”
Watch for us on Tuesday nights as over 60 people riding bicycles with backpacks, panniers and trailers carrying Foodshare TO boxes travel across the city!
Thanks to Dave Edwards for capturing on video one of those special Tuesday nights!