Maple Grove nurse collects 1,000 bikes for kids in need

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A Maple Grove woman’s efforts to give bikes to kids in need has kicked into high gear.

Deb Fortner, a nurse at Allina Health, started collecting bikes in 2016. That first year she collected nine bikes. Fast forward to 2021, and she’s already collected more than 1,000 bikes this year.

Her front yard is completely covered in bikes to be donated to an organization called Free Bikes 4 Kids MN. The nonprofit partners with mechanics, who clean up the bikes and make sure they’re in working condition before distributing them to kids who don’t have bikes.

Fortner says she believes every child should have the opportunity to ride a bike.

"The last year and a half has been really kind of a tough year and this has given me a chance to focus on something positive, something positive I can do," Fortner said. "And when I go pick up these bikes you get to meet the wonderful people and so there’s a lot of very wonderful and generous people out there and and it’s all for a very good cause."

Allina Health is holding a big bike donation drive on Oct. 9. A list of drop-off locations is available online.