(WGGB/WSHM) -- During the pandemic, many of us have been stuck at home whether working or out of work, but not Bob Charland.
‘Bob the Bike Guy,’ battling his own health issues, has taken on even more to help the community during this tough time.
“There’s always something someone can do to help somebody else out,” Charland explained.
Western Mass News has been covering Charland, better known as ‘Bob the Bike Guy’ for years.
As a mechanic and also a deputy for the sheriff’s department, Charland created Pedal Thru Youth as a way to fix up bikes to donate to kids in need.
However, the coronavirus pandemic originally closed his shop
“With schools closing, the last three schools I would’ve donated to got cancelled as a result,” Charland added.
As a result, Charland explained, “We switched gears and made face masks.”
Samsonite caught wind of Charland's newest way to give back and sent him sewing machines, fabric, and elastic to keep it going.
“We have masks coming back to us on a weekly basis. We donate to police, fire, senior citizens homes, homeless people in the community, anyone who reaches out,” Charland said.
With the help of others in the community, more than 1,000 masks have been donated, along with sanitizer and other necessities.
“As long as the need is there and requests are coming in, we’ll keep them coming,” Charland added.
Now, the Pedal Thru Youth bike shop is deemed essential and is back up and running.
“Currently, we have different youth groups coming down. Youth group ROCA working with us…young individuals stripping bikes, building bikes, doing stuff around the shop to keep me going,” Charland noted.
Randy Hevey with ROCA told us it's a win-win for everyone involved.
“It’s teaching them a lot of different skills - soft skills and hard skills. Soft is working with community, hard is teaching how to build and maintain bikes,” Hevey said.
They’re following social distancing guidelines every step of the way and giving back to entire families for their next big donation
"We'r working with West Springfield, 39 families there that could use bikes, so now that the world's opening back up and we can build kids bikes, we'll do a drive-by to each individual house,” Charland said.
For more on how you can give back, CLICK HERE.