On Saturday, Dec. 17, Faithco Church gave away more than 465 bicycles to boys and girls during their 11th Annual Holiday Bike Giveaway. The event was hosted at the Heart of Oklahoma Exposition Center at 10 a.m. Parents, grandparents and children of all ages flooded into the Otto Krause Exhibition Hall to scores of volunteers providing more than 5,000 cookies and assorted treats for the anticipating families.
"After today, we will have given away more than 5,000 bikes to deserving children," said Butch Cantrell, Faithco organizer. "We are so proud of our church members, businesses and individuals in the Shawnee area who support us by donating money, volunteer to assemble bikes or come out to organize this event."
Children in need are selected through a peer-identification process. More than 7,500 letters are sent to Pottawatomie County school districts as well as a few communities outside of the county. Requests are received from that mailing from parents, friends or family members identifying children. Those children are then notified they will receive a bicycle.
Opening remarks were made by State Representative Dell Kerbs.
"What a wonderful way to celebrate the holiday," said Rep. Kerbs. "I want to thank all of the families, volunteers and those who have made this possible today."
The Oklahoma Health Science Center and city of Shawnee Police Department provided protective helmets for each child as they received their bicycle.
For more information about the Heart of Oklahoma Exposition Center, visit ShawneeExpo.org.