Charity opens bicycle drop-off center

Rama Siripuram, a local Boy Scout in Troop 125 has recently launched a charitable project to collect and repair used bicycles from around town and offer them to E1 Youth, a Bridgeport-based charity.

"I chose the charity that I did because I wanted to give to a local charity that isn't well known or as successful, like Toys for Tots or another comparable charity," he said.

"It had to be a local charity because it is much easier to transport bicycles a few miles versus hundreds of miles, so logistically it made sense to donate to a local charity."

He said he also wanted to help people around where he lives and the neighboring areas.

Westy Self Storage has contributed to his effort by offering space to house his inventory and establish a bike drop-off area for donors.

Outdoor Sports Center is also a contributor to the charity by teaching basic bicycle repairs to local Boy Scouts in Rama's troop.

The project will help Rama fulfill the requirements for Eagle Scout, which is the highest rank a Boy Scout can achieve.

"Other than that I want to graduate and go to college, and I'll see where that takes me," he said.

E1 Youth Incorporated, stands for "Education First," and is a nonprofit organization for teenagers who are in need. The group aims to give inner-city teenagers an opportunity to learn about electronic resources and the job market.

"I've been asking my friends at school to donate bikes if they can and to spread the word around about my project," he said.

"I am planning on getting help from my friends to repair the bikes which we'll probably do on weekends."

Rama is hoping to be able to donate around 20 bikes by mid-December in time for the holiday season.

Anyone wishing to contribute may drop off a bicycle Monday through Friday from 8 to 6, Saturday from 9 to 6, and Sunday from 11 to 4 at Westy Self Storage, 65 Danbury Road. He would like to stop collection on Nov. 4.