Overwhelming Response To Free Kids’ Bikes Program

MINNETONKA, Minn. (WCCO) — An organization that collects bicycles for kids and teens in need during the holidays is on a roll.

Free Bikes 4 Kidz received an outpouring of support from folks in the Twin Cities. This year, the organization has collected 5,000 bikes.

“We’re way beyond what we imagined and we haven’t quite figured out how we’re going to get them all fixed,” said founder Terry Esau.

Some of the bikes collected are new, others gently used, and some need extensive work. Their team of volunteers is not quite as deep, so they are in desperate need of volunteers.

“You figure we have 5,000 bikes, at three hours, so we need 15,000 man hours to get these bikes ready to give away,” said Esau. “There’s an endless supply of kids who need bikes. We want to make sure every kid who needs one gets one.”

The kids and teens at Treehouse are on the gift list again this year. The non-profit runs after-school programs for at risk children.

“We see a real change.”

Audrey Gustafson says a bicycle is more than gift. It can provide a way to get to a job or school. And, more than that, it’s a sign of hope for the kids in the program.

“Not only do I have a chance to change something, but someone loves me. Someone cares about me enough to go out and find this bike and fix it up for me,” said Gustafson.

Volunteers are gearing up for what could be their biggest giveaway ever. The giveaway is Saturday, Dec. 10.

Esau says the more helping hands they get, the more memories they can create.

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