8 one-eyed, one-horned flying purple bicycles

March 17, 2013 • Local News

From Left: Roswell Refuge officials Al Wilson, Karen Griffo and Michelle Royer with purple fundraiser bikes. (Jill McLaughlin Pho[auth] to)

Purple bikes are expected to secretly begin rolling into yards across Roswell Monday, as residents wake up to the special calling cards left by the Roswell Refuge, a non-profit organization that helps victims of domestic violence.

“People won’t know (the bikes) are coming,” said Executive Director Michelle Royer. “It will be a complete surprise to the homeowners. We want people to be surprised and chuckle a little bit, and we want them to have fun about who to send it to next.”

The purple bikes, eight in all, become something like hot potatoes.

Once the unsuspecting homeowners decide to donate or not to the Roswell Refuge, they will then get to choose whom to surprise next.

The bikes come equipped with a display and a packet of information and telephone number, explaining what to do. A log book stays with the bicycle to record where it has traveled.

Inside the packet the form will ask for a donation and include and self-addressed envelope.

A Refuge staff member will arrange a time to pick the bicycle up.

All money raised from the event will go directly to pay for operational costs for the 37-year-old organization.

The bicycles were donated by citizens in Albuquerque and Roswell. Dean Baldwin donated its time and paint to coat the bikes with purple paint to “withstand whatever comes their way,” Royer said. An instructor at Eastern New Mexico University-Roswell welded the bikes’ parts together so they don’t move. Royer said, and Stan Sandhill Signs donated the signs to be used on the lawns.

The Refuge serves an estimated 1,000 area residents each year through donations, government and private grants.

“A lot of clients we serve are people who have no other choice,” Royer said. “We are what keeps these women safe and not homeless. We also see ourselves as a homicide prevention program.”

The shelter also helps different types of clients: shelter clients, clients for restraining orders, referrals, domestic violence orders, treatment program providers, and in-shelter and out-of-shelter clients.

At any time, the shelter houses about 17 families, helping women and children who have fled with as little as the clothing on their backs, Royer said. The shelter provides life-saving security, health and safety, a fully stocked kitchen, washer and dryer, transportation to get children and women enrolled in school and other services.

“Whatever they need to become independent, that’s what we provide,” she said.

The cost to operate the Roswell Refuge Shelter per day is $995.

The purple bike program will run for two weeks, Royer said.

To make a donation to the Roswell Refuge, write P.O. Box 184, Roswell, NM 88202.

To call the 24-hour domestic violence hotline, call 627-8361.

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