On cold day, church bicycle giveaway warms children's hearts

By Neill Caldwell

   Pink bicycles are lined up waiting to be chosen by little girls
   at the start of the ‘Bikes for Christ’ 
event at Worship
   and Praise United Methodist Church.


That was the comment made by many youngsters as they were handed a new bicycle Saturday afternoon, Dec. 20, at the fourth annual “Bikes for Christ” event at Worship and Praise United Methodist Church in East Richmond.

With overcast skies and the temperature in the 30s, most of the children were bundled up in multiple layers of clothing, gloves and caps. But underneath all that, their faces sparkled with a special early Christmas joy.

   A member of the Rough Riders
   motorcycle group helps a young girl
   select a bike.

“The kids are so excited, their eyes look like little light bulbs,” said Linwood Alford, chairman of this year’s event.

Meanwhile Richmond Area Bishop Young Jin Cho was getting into his role as the day’s official greeter, hugging kids and parents and flashing his own broad smile.

“This is a great event,” said Bishop Cho, clearly thrilled at the chance to get some one-on-one time with young children again.

   Bishop Young Jin Cho delights in greeting every child and family
   member who participated in the bicycle 
giveaway at Worship
   and Praise UMC on Saturday, 

   Dec. 20.

Church members and volunteers from the Rough Riders Motorcycle Club helped hand out more than 200 Huffy bikes in about an hour. The bikes had been purchased from Walmart with funds raised through the church.

Parents had been asked to pre-register their need for a bike. By the noon start time of the giveaway, hundreds of children and parents were lined up, ready to check in and receive a bike. The bikes were lined up according to boys’ or girls’ models.

Most of the recipients were from the area around the church on East Laburnum Avenue. “But we have people from New Kent, King William, everywhere!” said the Rev. Timothy Kirven, pastor of Worship and Praise.

   A youngster takes her bike away and is ready to go for a ride.

Kirven said last year’s event led to 15 new members joining the church through this first contact with the church and its ministries. “And we’re hoping for more this year.”

Alford said the church will start organizing for next year’s event in February.

-Neill Caldwell is editor of the Virginia Advocate




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