Bikes stolen from inner-city Edmonton kids replaced by oil company
Staff at Spruce Avenue School in central Edmonton were shocked and saddened Monday morning after discovering more than a dozen bikes donated for their less fortunate students were stolen over the weekend.
The school recently received 15 used bikes as a donation from the condo board at Park Place South Hamptons in west Edmonton.
The condo experienced a destructive fire in July 2014 and about 15 bikes were sitting abandoned in the basement since then.
They needed some love, but teachers were up to the task of making the necessary repairs.
“We had a couple of teachers step up, they brought some tools,” said educational assistant Krista Walker. “We started washing down the bikes, getting the gears going [and] oiling them up.”
Because of the limited number of bikes, teachers asked students to write submissions as to why they deserved a bike.
Twenty students wrote in and their letters had the teachers in tears at a recent staff meeting.
“They were sad, they were raw, they were real,” Walker said.
“I feel sometimes our kids carry the weight of what’s going on at home with them on their shoulders. So they bring it to school.”
Watch below: Some less fortunate students will be riding away from Spruce Avenue School with some new wheels, all thanks to a Good Samaritan. Margeaux Maron has the update on this story.
Grade 9 student Megan Paquette had her bike stolen three years ago. Her mom hasn’t been able to get her another one.
“My mom does not have enough money to afford a bike right now because we just moved into a new house,” she said. “My mom needs to focus on bills and I have a little sister that has necessary needs.”
Paquette’s classmate, Keyanow Gladue, had to leave his bike behind when his family moved to Edmonton from Vancouver.
“[With a bike], I can kind of control when I want to leave and not be late,” he said. “I can get there faster. It’s just easier for everybody.”
“We had 20 letters [and] we had 15 bikes,” Walker said. “How do you say no to five? So then we had some staff come forward and donate bikes so that every student who wrote a letter would be given a bike.”
Seven bikes had already been fixed up and given to students last week.
“They were happy and very protective,” Walker said. “During break, they would peek outside to make sure their bikes were still there.
“[They were] just excited — excited to get to school on time and on their own.”
Watch below: Staff at a school in central Edmonton were shocked and saddened Monday morning after discovering more than a dozen bikes donated for their less fortunate students had been stolen. Sarah Kraus has the details on what happened and how the community responded.
However, the remaining 13 bicycles still needed a few parts.
“They were put into our school compound over the weekend, which has a 15-foot chain-link fence,” Walker explained.
But over the weekend, someone cut though the fence and stole all of the bikes.
Walker shared what happened on Facebook and how devastating it was to the children.
“I was worried about the kids coming and seeing that their bikes were gone,” she said, as she dabbed facial tissue around her eyes. “That to me was kind of hope — it was hope for them. Their hope was gone.
“School is supposed to be safe.”
Since sharing the post at 7 a.m. on Monday, many people have offered to donate money or bikes to replace what was stolen.
Then, Ryan Walz from Welland Energy Services spoke up and said his company would replace all of the missing bikes with new ones for the students. His words almost brought Walker to her knees she was so overwhelmed.
“These kids are going to be able to ride home on a brand-new bike and it puts a little bit of faith back into my heart,” she said.
If you would like to give a used a bike to a child in need, Sports Central accepts donations.
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