About 50 shiny, new bikes and a few scooters rolled into the Salvation Army’s toy collection site Thursday afternoon in preparation for next week’s Christmas distribution.
“This community is so generous. I can’t say thank you enough,” Capt. Elaine Canning, associate area commander, said as she watched the new bikes join a warehouse loaded with already-donated new toys. “It’s such a pleasure to see these gifts coming in.”
The bikes from the CSRA Road Angels Car Club was one of the many large donations to the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree Program. Canning said it’s always overwhelming to see how much the community steps up to offer gifts. Some churches and corporate sponsors support in excess of 100 children.
This year the Angel Tree program, which pairs participants with a child under age 12 in need of Christmas presents, has 787 children it’s supporting. Participants receive a tag that has information about the child including his age, clothing sizes and a few items from his Christmas wish list. Bikes are always a popular item on the wish list.
“We enjoy it (giving during the holidays),” car club president Jan Holley said of the donation. “The community supports us so we give back to the community.”
The car club, which has about 100 families in its membership, always look for ways to give back during the holidays. Each year it offers a monetary gift to the Augusta Warrior Project, donates wagons to the Children’s Hospital of Georgia and holds a toy drive, but this is the first year it has worked with the Angel Tree program.
Holley said he worked with Academy Sports on the bike purchase after the club made the decision . The majority of the bikes donated ended up being smaller for younger children. Holley said he imagines that the bikes will be their first set of wheels for many of the children.
“We wanted to get as many as we could for the money we had to spend,” he said.
Canning said she could only imagine the smiles many of these children will have Christmas morning when they see the toys. She said she hopes those who donated also get satisfaction Christmas morning knowing the difference they made to those children.
The Salvation Army is still receiving gifts and is expecting another large toy donation this weekend when a group of motorcyclists will shop for children at the Grovetown Walmart and then drive in a large motorcycle caravan to the army’s collection site to drop off the toys.
The Salvation Army asks that anyone with an angel return it to the Kroc Center as soon as possible.