A group of former Peace Corps volunteers will be collecting bikes and sewing machines on Saturday, Sept. 25, 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Burton parking lot on Queen City Park Road in Burlington.

The items will be shipped to community projects in developing countries through Pedals for Progress, a New Jersey based non-profit.

South Burlington residents Paul Demers and Joanne Heidkamp have been involved with the annual event since 1999.

“Bikes and sewing machines are life-changing technology in developing countries,” said Demers. “Bikes allow people to get to school, work and to markets. Sewing machines are a way to create dignified employment in struggling communities.”

Vermonters with a bike or sewing machine to donate can bring it to the collection. The group asks for a $15 donation with each item, to help with overseas shipping costs. For those not able to come on that date, an early drop off can be arranged.

“We can also make a limited number of pickups if someone simply has no way to get their donation to us,” said Demers.

There will also be a collection in Montpelier, Friday, Sept. 24, 3:30-7p.m., in the National Life parking lot.

Since 1999, the group has shipped more than 4,000 bikes and 600 sewing machines from Vermont to community projects in El Salvador, Nicaragua, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Tanzania, Uganda, Moldova, Fiji and Vietnam.

“We don’t know yet where this year’s bikes and sewing machines will be going, but we are 100 percent sure that the items will change peoples’ lives for the better,” said Demers.

Get more information or volunteer by going to the group’s Facebook page.

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