The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has boosted demand for bicycles as virus-related restrictions leave commuters little to no choice but to pedal their way to work or to run errands.
To help the University of Santo Tomas (UST) staff keep up with the trend, members of Team España initiated “Piso Per Kilometro,” a fundraiser that aims to provide bikes for the school’s employees in need.
Team España’s team captain JM De Vicente said their fundraiser was initially inspired by Gretchen Ho’s “Donate a Bike, Save a Job” project.
“It was further pushed when we were informed that the employees in UST were laid off from work and were required to follow a skeletal system due to the pandemic. As one Thomasian community, we felt obliged to be of help in any way that we can,” De Vicente told Manila Bulletin in an online exchange.
Formed only in February, members of the cycling club are composed of UST alumni, students, faculty members, and staff.
To fund their project, the group invited cyclists and sponsors last June to faze through the 500-kilometer Mindoro loop and donate P1 to P100 per kilometer.
“Throughout the course of this fundraising event, a lot of people were able to help us out not only financially, but also in some other ways,” De Vicente shared.
He added that some pledged higher amounts and the Fraternity Officers Council even offered to give out bikes.
“The journey was not easy but along our way to Mindoro, we met people who were more than willing to give us a hand and gave us a place to stay and even offered transportation,” he continued.
Through the fundraiser, Team España was able to procure 10 bikes.
“When we handed out the bikes to them was priceless. Even with the face mask on, we can still see their happiness reflected in their eyes. Some of them shed tears of joy which filled our hearts with so much sense of fulfillment because even with this little act of kindness, we were able to make them happy,” De Vicente said.
“At that exact moment, I told my teammates that we cannot just stop here, we need to move forward and go the extra mile to continue our vision earning our success based on service to others.”