Bicycles of various colors and sizes are gathered in the foyer of First Christian Church of Oklahoma City (Disciples of Christ).
Assorted bicycle tires, rims and wheels can be found in the basement while an upstairs room houses bicycle gears, seats, crank sets, frames and other parts.
This church is literally about as free wheeling as they come.
First Christian's Chain Reaction ministry provides refurbished bicycles to those who need them — including homeless men, women and children.
“We would never have been able to afford bikes for all those kids whose families were there,” Dan Straughan, executive director of Oklahoma City's Homeless Alliance, said of a Christmas bike giveaway at the alliance's resource center.
“We were able to give every child a bicycle only because of this ministry.”
And while the bicycles given as presents are important, Straughan said those provided to the adult homeless and indigent are essentially life-changing.
He said the bicycles are cheap, reliable transportation for those attempting to get to work or much-needed social services.
Plus, he said such transportation also helps these individuals connect in other ways.
“People who live in deep poverty tend to live in social isolation,” Straughan said.
“This allows them to have a social network that they wouldn't otherwise have. They have access to other places like the VA or to church.”