Wayne County 4-H members build bikes for children in need

Dec 10 | Posted by: AT Team

WOOSTER -- Country singer Aaron Tippin probably had no idea how building two bikes on stage during his shows at the Wayne County Fair would resonate nearly a decade later.

Tippin built a girl's bike and boy's bike. Normally, he would donate the bikes to a Toys for Tots program, because he believes every child should have a gift at Christmas.

However, he agreed to have the bicycles auctioned, with the proceeds going to People to People Ministries and the Salvation Army.

In light of Tippin's generosity, the Bikes for Kids program was born, and this year, senior fair board members and 4-H leaders built 56 bikes Dec. 1 that will be shared with children around the county on Christmas. The bicycles will be distributed through People to People Ministries, the Salvation Army and Wayne County Children Services.

The Bikes for Kids program has been averaging between 45-50 bikes a year, said Tom Stocksdale, a fair board director who has been helping to coordinate the program.

Doug Foxx, Wayne County Extension Office 4-H educator, said the county's 4-H clubs raise money to help buy the bicycles. Some clubs raise enough funds to buy one and others have purchased as many as five.

The bikes cost about $65 each, and they are purchased through Shreve Hardware and Supply. Owner Richard Edington usually donates a couple, Stocksdale said. For the second year, Cargill Feed has donated enough helmets to go with each bike.

The program has been a successful one on several layers. There have been almost 500 bikes given away to those in need, Stocksdale said. When the bikes are built, there are usually two or three 4-H leaders working with a senior fair board member, which helps to build relationships.

And, the program provides an opportunity for 4-H'ers to give back to the community and make Christmas special for others, Foxx said.

"They really enjoy it," Foxx said. "It's a great way to kick off the holidays. I tell our junior leaders I wished they could see the kids' faces when they open their gifts on Christmas morning."

Foxx uses the occasion as a way to teach the 4-H'ers to appreciate the blessings they have, because there are some families who are struggling.

Tippin was pleased to hear Wayne Countians are still building and giving away bikes, just as he is.

"I still use my working man skills when I put together a bike for charitable foundations on stage while singing the American worker's anthem, 'Working Man's Ph.D,'" Tippin wrote in an email to The Daily Record. "We have put together and donated over 1,000 bikes through the years to help ensure that every child has a toy under the tree at Christmas."

Reporter Bobby Warren can be reached at 330-287-1639 or bwarren@the-daily-record.com. He is @BobbyWarrenTDR on Twitter.

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