Organizers prepping for third annual bicycle giveaway

Published 10:23 am Monday, September 30, 2013

The leaves are barely starting to change colors, but the windows of the former Papa John’s in Ironton already have a festive hue.

It’s that time of year again, the time when two local businessmen begin the task of making sure children in the community have a cheerful Christmas.

John Dickess, owner of Dickess Auto Repair, and Don Schwartz, manager of Advance Auto Parts, are prepping for their third annual holiday bicycle giveaway. Also partnering for the effort is Tri-State Worship Center in South Point.

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Dickess said about $1,600 has been raised since the beginning of September and the vacant pizza restaurant is already filling with bikes.

Last year, more than 160 children took home a bike from the colossal giveaway that was held at Ironton High School. Dickess said the goal for this year is 200 bikes, but help from the community is needed.

“We had people last who said their kids wouldn’t have gotten anything if we didn’t give the bikes away,” Dickess said.

The effort began in 2011 with a drawing for two bikes. Within a few short weeks, people and businesses in the community began donating money and bicycles. The end result was that more than 30 children took home a bike.

The giveaway grew by leaps and bounds the following year, with even more donations from the community and local businesses donating food, toys and giftcards for the giveaway event.

This year, Dickess said, as in the past, Walmart of Ashland, Ky., is helping with discounted bikes and helmets. An order has already been placed for 150 bikes.

Donation boxes have been placed in local businesses, and Dickess said more can be made if a location wants to display one.

This year’s giveaway will be at the Ro-Na Theater on Dec. 14. To enter a child’s name into the bicycle drawing, visit Advance Auto Parts on the corner of Park Avenue and South Sixth Street.