Thanks to the generosity of an Aurora man, youngsters who might not receive many Christmas presents have a chance to receive a free bicycle.
"If there is a need, I want to take care of it and make sure we get the bikes to the kids that deserve them," said Aurora's Kim Schaefer, founder of the Bikes-4-Kids program. "The whole idea of this thing is to bring it to a home where there may not be any bikes."
Schaefer collects donated bicycles throughout the year, then gives them out during the holidays. He launched the annual program in 2006.
Schaefer said he has more than 150 bicycles to give away this holiday season. Many will go to families in Kent, while others will go to homes in Aurora, Ravenna and Macedonia.
The bikes are distributed with help from people such as Laurie Knuth, a counselor at Walls Elementary School and Stanton Middle School in Kent. Knuth said some students she deals with are from families that are below the poverty level.
Many of the youngsters are identified from the schools' free and reduced lunch program.
Kent Cycle on Lake Street in Kent also donated bicycles. "Last year, we were able to donate many bikes, and we're looking to do the same this year," co-owner Stefan Meyer said.
Schaefer puts stickers on the bikes that read: "It's all about Jesus."
"There is a bigger purpose than getting a bicycle," he said. "It's about developing the child, helping them to become a good adult and having faith in God.
Schaefer said he gives away bikes to people who contact him. Call him at 330-328-7506, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or go to the website at www.Bikes-4-Kids.com.
Cash donations to be used for bikes can be mailed to Schaefer at 640 E. Pioneer Trail, Aurora 44202, in care of "Bikes 4 Kids."
Phone: 330-541-9400 ext. 4187
Twitter: Mike Lesko@MikeLesko_RPC