Event Gives Children Bikes for Christmas

IRONTON, Ohio (WSAZ) -- With Christmas just weeks away, some families in the tri-state are struggling to put gifts under the tree.

However, in one Ohio community, people are hoping to make the holiday a little easier, with bikes.

11-year-old Brandon Collins is getting a brand new bike for Christmas.

"It made me feel really excited and it's one of the best gifts," said Brandon Collins.

He's one of more than 200 children at the third annual Holiday Bike Giveaway in Ironton.

"It means a lot to them to get new bicycles, they've been wanting them," said Brandon's Uncle, Roy Collins.

For Brandon and his family, it's truly a blessing. Until recently, his family was struggling while his uncle searched for work.

That meant Christmas was in jeopardy.

"It makes me feel real bad that I wasn't working and everything, I just felt bad for the kids," said Roy Collins.

But the event's organizers and dozens of volunteers were determined to change that.

"You remember your first bicycle, everybody does, a bicycle is a form of freedom for a child," said organizer Don Schwartz.

Schwartz helped start it all.

In 2011, he gave away two bikes in an auto parts store.

It didn't take long for people to help, as donations of time, money and gifts rolled in.

"It just grows that fast, it's all through the community, people giving until it hurts," said Schwartz.

Now, hundreds of children, like Brandon, will take their new wheels home, making this Christmas a little merrier.

Organizers said they raised more than $13,000 this year.

They said they're looking for a bigger venue for next year's event because it has grown so much.

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