Dénes Annaházi appears in Budapest Bike Maffia’s various programmes. Sometimes he makes sandwiches in the Vitamin Kommandó and he hops on his bike to deliver those sandwiches with the team. Other times, he shoots some photos to catch the best moments during the BBM events. But, if needed he packs, delivers, coordinates. During the virus situation he took part in coordinating fundraising. Last time, he helped in preparing the deliveries of Mother’s Day donations.

Dénes, based on your Facebook posts, we can tell that the Bike Maffia is an important part in your life. You often post about programmes and events you attend. What’s your story? How did you find the team?

There is not much plot twist in my story. I’ve followed the Bike Maffia’s actions on Facebook already. On one of our company event there were around 10-15 kg orange what was left and I wrote to the team whether they would accept them, so that we didn’t have to throw the fruit out. This was in December, 2016. So I went there, stood in the corner and David, who led one of the two Vitamin Kommandó programmes then, came over to me and told me what were they doing and he thanked the stuff I brought. Since this short chat was really pleasent, I’ve decided to come to the next sandwich making event. At that time there was the winter Krízis!, so there was no time to look around or getting to know people. Nobody asked who are you, what do you want, where are you from, what do you do. There’s the bread, the butter, the meat, do it! This just suited me. From then on, two Vitamin events in one week was default for me. The bike was already my means of transport, I brought empathy from my upbringing and  then my camera was there, so me being there in every occasion was not a question. The team and the atmosphere caught me and since then I try to take part and have a taste in everything. My pictures, amongst Insta and Facebook, have appeared in other press fields, which is really flattering. So this is the story and I hope it won’t end for many many years.

We have already asked two volunteers about the Vitamin Kommandó, and asked Noémi Poós as well, who is the project manager of the Kommandó. You are also a permanent member of the team, you take part in almost every event, making or delivering the sandwiches. Why is this community important to you?

Vitamin is the basic project for me, mainly because of the cycling, the team and thanks to Noémi, because of the music that is played by Agnostic Front during the sandwich making process. And helping is always good. I mean, we often hear about inconceivable stories, lives, but at least we do something that can help and make the lives of the people need a little bit better. Besides this, a really great team has been built and it is not just a work connection anymore, we often came together and go cycling in the weekends, organize common programmes, go to pubs or cook together. We can count on each other’s help in all occasions and that is really important.

You take photos, make videos in our events, programmes regularly. To name a few, on the exhibition opening of the My Budapest Photo Project, the Charity Fest, the exhibition of the book, Tekerj!, and many other bike events. You see the programmes from the outside and from the inside. What was the most memorable picture or moment you caught? And which was the event that sticked with you the most?

The photo machine is always with me, of course, that’s my other favourite device beside the bike. There are many many pictures, I don’t think I could pick one. But, there’s one picture which we used to the 1% donation. There, a guy is giving a sandwich to a person in need, that picture is in the TOP 100.

The first Charity Fest had the biggest impact on me. I really saw there how colossal events can we organize if we join forces with other organizations, and people love these events. The second Charity Fest was even more impressive in Dürer and there was no doubt that slowly everybody will hear about us. This is awesome.

Last time, you organized a donation on Mother’s Day. What was this exactly? What kind of donations did you bring and where? What was your job?

The Mother’s Day donation was the first time where I was trusted with the coordination part of the project. We’ve prepared 400 packs, there were biscuits, syrup, pasta, chocolate, bolognese powder and juice in them. Volunteers have portioned them, and along with parent homes, foundations and hostels delivered them. It was an enormous help that we’ve found volunteers to every task, from preparing to delivering. People really help in everything. It was a good experience to complete the project from the beginning to the end. In case of helping, everybody is open and grateful.

If somebody asks you about the Bike Maffia, because of your photos and posts, what do you say what it is like to volunteer here?

I have never volunteered anywhere else before, but I’m sure this is the best organization! It has everything that is needed. The bike, the music, the people, and we can pamper our souls that we have done some good. Of course, I could say, it’s easy for us, because we have homes to go, money on our cards, we have families. But this is exactly why it is our duty to sacrifice our time and our energy to help other people. So, I suggest to everybody to volunteer and there are many opportunities if we look around. There are better and better organizations who are trying to make the world a better place, those who help children, who support people living in extreme poverty,  who are trying to accomodate people who have drifted away from the periphery. We are not the only ones, there is the Amigos, the ULE, the Food Not Bombs, the Heti Bevető, the Age of Hope, just to name a couple of organizations. Be a volunteer, the world needs us! That’s all folks.

Picture: Dénes Annaházi