Life Church bike giveaway helps struggling kids get wheels

Children receive new bicycles during Life Church's The Big Give on Saturday at Sager Middle School.

Children receive new bicycles during Life Church's The Big Give on Saturday at Sager Middle School. Photo by Alfred Diaz.

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COLLEGE PLACE — Just in time for Christmas, bikes.

And more than a hundred of them given were given away Saturday and Sunday at Life Church.

The Big Give bike coordinator Pam Daws said some the 115 bikes were not only timely gifts, but the only gifts the young recipients will receive this year.

For several years, Life Church has sponsored The Big Give, where church members are asked to raise funds for charity projects not just in Walla Walla but across the globe.

Last year the church gave away bikes and soccer balls in Acuña, Mexico. And in 2010, the church raised $11,000 more than the $16,000 needed to build a playground in Montego Bay, Jamaica. So they took the extra funds and built a playground back home at Meadow Brook Elementary School.

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Savannah Osborne, with helping hands from her mother Ashley Osborne, rides her new pink bicycle.

Every year the church supports a different cause and community. This year was a repeat of a popular theme, providing bikes to children from struggling families in the Walla Walla Valley.

“I had one boy on Saturday night, 9 years old, he have never had a bike before,” Daws said.

Equipped with an spreadsheet of this year’s recipients, Daws started buying the bikes in November. The average cost was about $100 for a bike, helmet and Bible.

“That first round I bought 86 bikes,” she said.

The Big Give was held at Sager Middle School auditorium to accommodate what is typically a growth in attendees around Christmas, but also a need for extra space to accommodate the recipients and all 115 bikes that were line up in front of the assembly, including a very small pink bike for Savannah Osborne.

“She said, ‘Oh. A bike for me. It’s so pink. Awesome mom,’” Ashley Osborne said only seconds after helping her daughter pedal her new pink bike.

The vast majority of the recipients of The Big Give are not members of Life Church, though Daws said there are a handful of struggling families within the congregation that received bikes this year.

The rest are families that were identified by church members.

“We ask them to look at your neighbors,” she said. “Do they have somebody in their lives with a child who would benefit from a bicycle?”

Alfred Diaz can be reached at alfreddiaz@wwub.com or 526-8325.

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