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Bicycle giveaway to help needy children

Students volunteer to assemble bikes for event

Community volunteers and students from Collins Career Center were working Monday to help make this Christmas season brighter for needy children.

As has been the case for the past four years, automotive students from the center worked at Dickess Auto Repair on South Sixth Street to assemble bicycles donated by the community.

The effort began in 2012, Don Schwartz, the manager of Advanced Auto Part in Ironton, said.

Instead of having an office party that year, he purchased two bikes for underprivileged children. He was quickly joined by John Dickess of the repair shop, whose team bought bikes for the effort. Then, customers began donating money and bikes as well, bringing the total to 64.

“It’s grown every year,” Schwartz said, “beyond our wildest expectations. We just put together our 1,000th bike.”

Schwartz said they would like to thank the community for making the drive a success. He said people can still donate to the effort and that they give out bikes year-round at events such as the St. Mary’s Medical Center bike rodeo.

Mike Staton, associate director of the trade industries program at Collins, said the 19 students put the donated bikes together and that the project is a total community effort. He said the organizers then seek out the names of needy children by contacting local organizations. He estimated there would be 80 to 120 bikes this year.

“We’re happy to be a part of it,” Staton said. “The kids really enjoy participating in this. A lot of them don’t have a lot, and they get a great deal of joy from helping others.”