Nearly 300 children received bicycles and tricycles on Saturday at the 20th year of Cycles for Christmas, organized by Evening Optimist Club of Sumter.
This year more than 330 cycles were donated, and more than 290 children were invited to choose …
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This year more than 330 cycles were donated, and more than 290 children were invited to choose a bicycle or tricycle.
The children are selected for the event by their teachers, guidance counselors and other school officials.
The children and their parents were given breakfast provided by Chick-fil-A and fitted with helmets by Safe Kids Sumter County, sponsored by the Tuomey Foundation, before selecting their bikes.
After selecting cycles, the children practiced using hand signals while riding through the bike rodeo sponsored by Palmetto Optimist Club.
The bicycles were donated and refurbished while the tricycles were all brand new.
This is the club's charter project, said Paul Krouse, a charter member of Evening Optimist Club.
The club has given out thousands of bikes over the years, he said.
"This is my whole Christmas right here," said Tom Lawrence, a charter member of the Evening Optimist Club who hosts bicycle repairs at his home every year. "For 20 years this has been my Christmas."
Cycles for Christmas allows the volunteers to see their own blessings while helping these children, said Andrew Lawrence, Tom Lawrence's son.
It's definitely grown in size, Sarah Hannon, Tom Lawrence's daughter, said.
The giveaway started with just a fraction of bikes, and now hundreds of children receive an early Christmas gift each year.
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