It’s an event that couldn’t happen without its volunteers. While Bikes for Tikes only expected 600-700 volunteers, a whopping 1,300 people came out to help put the 1,635 bikes together Friday morning.
KENNEWICK, Wash. — Bikes for Tikes, a local nonprofit with the aim to get kids on bikes this holiday season. The organization runs solely on its volunteers and board. Chairman for Bikes for Tikes, Randy Walli, said he only expected around 600-700 people volunteering. But on Friday morning, more than 1,300 people came together.
“So the very first time that I saw the sea of bicycles in the sea of people putting these together, I just, I was so awed I couldn’t believe just how good that was,” said Ray Geimer, President of Modern Living Services. He’s volunteered his time to Bikes for Tikes for half a decade now.
This event certainly drew a crowd, walking into the Three Rivers Convention Center. All of the volunteers came out for one goal: to put some wheels on some bikes. There were more than 1,600 bikes to be built on Friday.
“We enjoy coming out here and joining forces, rubbing elbows with all of the other folks in the community. Just an opportunity to build some bikes and help out the kids in our area,” said Shane Edinger with Hanford Mission Integration Solutions.
HMIS has been bringing a group of volunteers to the event for several years now. Edinger said this year, they brought 70 people.
An event that couldn’t happen without its volunteers
From veteran bike builders to newbies, everyone was getting in on the action.
“There’s a lot of folks that are seasoned veterans. They built a lot of bikes. We’ve got them on quality control this year,” said Edinger. “Then we’ve got other folks that this is their first time and I was like, you know, don’t worry; don’t be nervous. There’s instructions in the box, and they will make sure that the bike is good to go before it gets to a kid.”
Beyond those volunteers, kids were helping to build bikes for other kids.
“What’s really neat is we’ve gotten a lot more kids here this year, a lot of the high schools bring groups of kids,” said Edinger.
Bikes for Tikes delivered nearly 100 mountain bikes to students at Tri-Tech Skills Center earlier in the week to put together in advance, and those students stopped by again Friday to help with the building process.
The room was so packed, no one was left without a job. There was nearly one person for every bike to be built.
Randy Walli said over the course of their 13 years, Bikes for Tikes has donated more than 18,000 bikes.
KAPP-KVEW’s Staff also got a chance to help out at the event! Watch the video to see how our team did.
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