More than four months after Category 4 storm Hurricane Maria leveled Puerto Rico, roughly 40 percent of the island is still without power, and many more are struggling just to have their basic needs met. Knowing how much help those in the area still need, Puerto Rican-born Dallas Mavericks guard JJ Barea, and ofo, the world’s largest station-free bicycle-sharing program, have partnered to donate 600 bikes to Puerto Rico, where public transportation is severely limited.
Ofo shipped the bikes to Puerto Rico, where the JJ Barea Foundation, which offers economic support to non-profits in Puerto Rico, stored and assembled them. On Wednesday, the foundation held demonstrations in San Juan to teach those in the community how to operate and maintain the bikes. The plan is for the bikes to be distributed among the Boys & Girls Club of Puerto Rico and communities along Martín Peña Channel.
“Puerto Rico is home. My family, friends and community are there, and they still need a lot of help to recover from such a devastating hurricane, which is why I’m so thankful for this truly thoughtful donation from ofo and powerful partnership with my foundation,” Barea said in a press release. “Hurricane Maria destroyed many of our roads, people are without cars and public transportation is limited, so getting around the island and having access to everyday necessities is still a big challenge. These bikes will go a long way in assisting Puerto Rico’s rehabilitation, and I appreciate ofo for making that happen.”
Ofo, which was founded in 2014, has a goal of making bikes accessible in every part of the world.
“Philanthropy has always been at the core of our business, and we’re grateful that this donation of ofo bikes is able to assist in some small way in Puerto Rico’s recovery,” said Chris Taylor, ofo’s head of North America. “We applaud the JJ Barea Foundation for all its hard work and support in the hurricane relief efforts, and we’re honored to partner with such a generous and dedicated organization.”
What an assist from Barea, likely the most meaningful one from the guard this season.