Hoping to make Christmas merrier for area children, Rick Thomas and Jimmy Lee of the River Hills / Lake Wylie Lions Club dropped off 29 new bicycles at United Way’s Toys for Christmas Warehouse on Tuesday, December 8.
Located in Rock Hill, S.C., the warehouse operates under the management of Moe Bell, former CEO of the Upper Palmetto YMCA, who just retired in July after 29 years. This holiday season, the United Way will serve 490 families and 1,350 children. Bell said that while the organization had a request of 325 bicycles, it had received only 290 by distribution day, a week prior to Christmas. “We thank service groups like the River Hills Lions Club for making wishes come true,” Bell said. “There was a shortage in 26” boys’ bicycles, and they’d already been spoken for at Walmart and Academy Sports.” Children who did not receive their requested bicycles received a scooter or skateboard instead.
The RHLW Lions Bicycle for Kids project, once a vibrant endeavor over a decade ago, stalled and eventually disappeared from the club’s highly favored fund-raising projects. After hearing about the bicycle project from the grandson of a former project member, Thomas decided to revitalize the program around five years ago and has served as the team’s captain since. A few other club members who share his passion for tinkering with bikes or for wanting to help children in the community have joined his team.