A group of young bicyclists in the Bronx borough of New York City are doing their part to help the homeless while steering clear of the trouble that often plagues their neighborhoods, the New York Post reports.
Some of them have been building a tiny house for a homeless man they’ve befriended, the news site notes. They spend their weekends working on the 4-by-8-foot shelter, using rented power tools. They’re even installing flooring, a door and windows into the little home.
Their hope is that the man, identified in the Post as 48-year-old Anthony Jackson, can stay in the shelter permanently. However, since the little hut will be on city land under a bridge near a public park, the city could technically knock it down. Which is why the group prefers that the location remain a secret, at least for now.
For Carlos Ayala, 34, a construction worker and father of four who dubbed the group the Charged Up Riders after founding it in September, it’s all about giving back.
“Hopefully, it will give him some motivation to make his life better,” Ayala said.
The total number of “Riders” is somewhere around 150, the Post notes, and they range in age from 6 to 20. Most of them come from the Bronx’s crime-ridden 40th Precinct, but others come from the borough of Brooklyn and Harlem. The adults who help them out see the project as a way for these young people to avoid the drugs, gangs and violence that are often found in their neighborhoods by biking together and helping out the less fortunate.
According to the Post, Dr. Greg Gulbransen, a pediatrician from Syosset, N.Y., a New York City suburb, provides support for the team by donating $100 per hut.
“I told them, you have to be in good standing with the community to join up with the Riders,” Gulbransen said. “You have to do the right thing to be in the group."
The bicyclists have also delivered Thanksgiving meals to the homeless, and on Easter they handed out handmade baskets of candy to children.
“I want my kids to see what people go through,” Ayala said. “Every time we go to the park [to ride bikes], there are a lot of homeless people there.
“We want to give them a helping hand,” he added.
Read more at the New York Post.