Bike giveaway in need of fundsPublished 3:21pm Wednesday, November 13, 2013
Christmas morning will be more fun-filled for some kids when a shiny new bicycle is under the tree.
But one organizer of the third annual holiday bicycle giveaway says the slow recovery of the economy has hampered the number of bikes this year.
“We have about 100 bikes right now,” John Dickess, owner of Dickess Auto Repair in Ironton, said. “Our goal this year is 200 bikes. Right now we are way behind.”
Dickess and co-organizer Don Schwartz, manager of Advance Auto Parts in Ironton, gave away 160 bikes last year, which prompted the two men to set this year’s goal at 200.
“We have Ohio University Southern involved and they are helping out with a couple of bikes,” Dickess said. “We have a church helping us and Ashland (Ky.) Walmart is giving us discounts on bikes and helmets.”
Tri-State Worship Center in South Point is partnering this year by selling food baskets to raise money for bikes. Dickess said since September $1,600 has been raised.
The giveaway has come a long way since it began in 2011 when the plan was to give away two bikes. Nearly a month after announcing their plan, Dickess and Schwartz saw people in the community donate money and bikes well beyond expectations, and ultimately 30 children were given free bikes.
From 30 bikes in 2011 to 160 bikes in 2012, Dickess said he doesn’t think his and Schwartz’s goal of 200 bikes this year is out of reach just yet.
“We are coming right along but we have a way to go” he said. “Donations are down this year just like everything else is down. The slow economy is affecting everything it seems.”
An order for 150 bikes has been placed with the Ashland Walmart and in an earlier Tribune story Dickess said some people said if it weren’t for the bike giveaway, their child wouldn’t have gotten anything.
Donation boxes are in place at local businesses and more are available if a business wants one.
This year’s giveaway will be at the Ro-Na Theater on Dec. 14. A child’s name can be entered into the drawing at Advance Auto Parts on the corner of Park Avenue and Sixth Street.