ONALASKA, Wis. (WXOW) – Since June, in partnership with Habitat for Humanity among other non-profit organizations, the Bike and Build Organization builds homes and raises money across the country to raise awareness for the affordable housing cause.
Half of the money they raise goes towards grants, which affordable housing organizations can apply for. Over the past 11 years, Bike and Build has spent more than 160,000 hours building homes—and character. “Learning how to build houses, and actually getting your hands dirty, affecting the cause, makes us realize actually how much we're capable of,” biker Cody Folta said.
The group builds homes for people who contribute more than 50% of their income towards housing. “I've been around a lot of people who are trying to get a a home, and I really support that mission and want to be a part of,” biker Hannah Livingston said.
The “Northern Group” of the organization began their trek in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and are currently halfway to their destination, Vancouver, Canada. On Sunday, they made a special pit stop at Journey Lutheran Church in Onalaska. “It's been incredible. I've seen so much scenery. I had no real conception on what the country looked like until now,” Folta said.
Folta, 18, who is orginally from Somerset, New Jersey, said he has encountered some challenges along the way. “I alone had seven flat (tires). That alone was very challenging,” Folta said.
Livingston, 23, who is from Portland, Oregon, has a heavy community service background. “I've worked for Habitat (for Humanity) and AmeriCorp. But I was just like 'I had to do this',” Livingston said.
Livingston said this is the toughest physical challenge she has ever done. “I have a lot of experience with building and habitat (for Humanity), but cycling is a new endeavor for me,” Livingston said.
Folta and Livingston both said they enjoy building homes for the cause because there's nothing better than providing a home for those in need.
The Bike & Build team has ten building sites along their journey. They plan to leave Onalaska on Monday morning, as they head towards their next building site in St. Paul, Minnesota.
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