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Bike shop unlike any other teaches people how to fix their own bikes

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KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

Sometimes a simple act can make a big difference in people's lives and one program is changing lives and looking to reach even more.

It's a bike shop unlike any other in Kansas City and the people at the 816 Bicycle Collective don't just fix up people's bikes, they also teach them how to fix it themselves.

"They take a lot of pride in their bikes. We see them on their bikes for years after they've gotten them," said Idris Raoufi with 816 Bicycle Collective.

Raoufi helped launch the nonprofit group five years ago, hoping to use bicycles as a way to transform an entire community.

Supporters say the program has been essential in their efforts to breathe new life into the center-city neighborhood. Most of their clients can't even afford a bus pass and a reliable bike is their only way of getting to and from work.

One person who has benefited from the program is Ervie White who considers his bike his lifeline.

"Go to work. I work at a temp service. I have a lot of errands I do in the city. My bicycle is my only means of transportation," White said.

He came in for a flat tire and, after some time with the people at 816 Bicycle Collective, he was back on the road with the know-how to fix the next flat himself.

Now the collective is looking to expand so they can help more people like White. They recently bought three buildings at 31st and Cherry streets, but they need about $80,000 for the necessary renovations.

The group doesn't have that type of money so they've launched a neighbor.ly campaign. It's a civic-minded fundraising site that allows anyone to make a donation.

So far the group's collected more than $10,000 with nearly a quarter of that coming from the very people they serve on a daily basis.

"These are the people that earn under $11,500 a year. Imagining them making a donation to us is just incredible," Raoufi said.

Despite their progress so far, there's still a long way to go and there's just 15 days left on the countdown.

Raoufi is confident his supporters will come through so they can meet their goals and continue to help the neighborhood.

Click here for more on the 816 Bicycle Collective and to donate to their neighbor.ly campaign.

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