BOISE, Idaho — Every holiday season for the past 13 years, hundreds of kids draw their dream bikes, then send the pictures to the Boise Bicycle Project for the Holiday Kids Bike Giveaway. This year though, because of the pandemic, the nonprofit is facing some obstacles.
“It's been difficult to get volunteers to come into the shop because a lot of them are a little bit older and some spacing reasons, it’s been hard to get bicycles donated and there's been so many extra costs to put on the giveaway in order for us to do it safely so we definitely have the cart stacked against us," said BBP director and co-founder Jimmy Hallyburton.
Normally the nonprofit would have hundreds of volunteers coming down throughout the week but that's not the case right now because of COVID-19 and safety concerns.
“We actually were forced to shut our shop down this last week so we could focus all of our staff's effort on getting the kids' bikes fixed up instead of the regular services that we offer to the community, so we're taking a financial hit because of that decision," Hallyburton said. "But we know in order to get 500 bikes fixed in the next month that's just what we're going to have to do to get this pulled off for the kids."
Fortunately, bicycle shops across the Treasure Valley are also stepping up this year and helping them fix up some of those bikes.
“This has been a hard year for all of us, we tend to when things get hard, we want to rally together and help the community in need and this year's been a really hard year to do that and we know it’s been a hard year for these kids as well so it means a lot to think that we can still do something really bright and really positive during such a hard time,” Hallyburton said.
The 14th annual Holiday Kids Bike Giveaway is set for Dec. 19, and organizers are taking extra precautions to make it possible.
“We're really operating it similar to the farmers market or if you've gone to the grocery store and preordered groceries, they bring them out to you so there will be very little interaction between families and volunteers, which is sad but we really need to make sure we're prioritizing safety when it comes to getting bicycles to these kids,” Hallyburton said. “The smiles and the look on the kids faces is definitely my favorite part every year. It's going to be a little different this year because all of the kids are going to have masks on but I know that we'll be able to see that look in their eyes and know that smile is underneath there.”
If you’d like to volunteer, donate or get involved, you can reach out to the Boise Bicycle Project directly.
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