MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Thousands of children in the Twin Cities are proud owners of a new set of wheels. Free Bikes 4 Kidz held its annual bike giveaway this weekend.
The nonprofit provides new and gently used bikes to families in need.
There was a long line of families eagerly waiting outside the Midtown Global Market late Sunday morning for one of the events.
Twelve-year-old Emmanuel Johnson of St. Paul knew exactly the bike he was looking for.
“I’m looking for a bike I can ride up hills and down hills, really fast,” Emmanuel said.
Emmanuel, his 10 year-old brother Reggie, and 11 year-old sister Aaliyah all went home with new bicycles.
“It’s a blessing from God that my kids have their bikes now. They were borrowing their friends bikes,” their mother, Kimberleigh Johnson, said.
The nonprofit has grown tremendously since its first year.
In 2008, it gave away 300 bikes. This year, Free Bikes 4 Kidz expected to give away 5,000 bicycles.
“This is our very small way of tangibly love our neighbor as ourselves,” founder Terry Esau said.
Hundreds of volunteers make the events possible.
They begin in October collecting gently used bikes and then spend countless hours fixing and refurbishing the bikes to get them ready for new owners.
“I can’t say enough about our volunteers. Our volunteers are awesome!” Esau said.
Emmanuel was pumped about his new bike. He told us as he rolled his new wheels out the door, “I got a tight bike! I’m going to be riding it all the time, everywhere! Thank you!”