Toronto company’s Christmas party builds, donates 292 bikes to kids in need
A brand-new bicycle is sure to be a favourite gift this holiday season, but many kids won’t be so lucky to unwrap one.
Which is why one holiday party makes sure a few hundred more kids will be able to.
For the past three years, employees at Waste Connections of Canada have spent their holiday parties building bicycles for less fortunate children.
Last year, the company donated over 8,000 bikes and helmets to children, and is hoping to set a new record with 2018’s donation.
Dan Pio, president of Waste Connections of Canada, said it’s a great way to give back to the community.
“What better way to give back to the community than to give to underprivileged youth throughout the community,” he said, “who will more than likely never have a bike in their lifetime?”
All year long, office fundraisers supply the money for the bikes. By the end of the afternoon they’ll have 292 of them.
Some volunteers said the most challenging part of building a bike is making sure every part is correct.
“Making sure the right and left is correct,” one said. “And making sure the front wheel and the back wheel are not reversed.”
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This year, The Neighborhood Group will be the recipient of this donation.
Michelle Ilios of The Neighborhood Group knows every single child who will receive one of these bikes, and knows how life-changing they’ll be.
“Watching them get something like this and knowing that some of them have bikes or have never had a bike, don’t even know how to ride a bike, it’s so cool and it’s the best feeling for me,” she said.
“They come in the next day and now they want to learn and now they want to take bike programs. It’s just continual growth and we get to support that.”
And while putting the bikes together may not be the easiest job, they did get some help with the more difficult ones.
Sam Cascun from The Woodbridge Cycle Path stepped in to help those who were struggling to build their bikes.
“They’re a little harder to build, [which] needed some extra parts and [it’s] challenging for people who don’t know what they’re doing, to build,” Cascun said.
It’s a challenging task which makes people a little happier with each turn of the crank.
“It’s [that] time of [the] year,” said Craig Richardson, director of human resources with Waste Connections of Canada. “We know that these bikes are going to go to folks who need it and families who need it and are really going to appreciate it. And that’s what this is all about for us.”