OXFORD — Hundreds of shiny new bicycles were lined up next to the Martin’s in Oxford Saturday morning for the third annual Martin’s & Anniston Kiwanis Club bicycle giveaway.
A cold wind howled through the parking lot but it was not enough to erase the multitude of warm smiles seen as the bikes were rolled and carried way just in time for Christmas.
Sonde Coleman, vice president of the Kiwanis Club, was busy helping parents and volunteers sort through the various sizes of bikes during the giveaway.
Coleman said that 262 bicycles were donated by Martin’s owner Bill Wakefield and another 12 were donated by Sparklight (formerly known as CableOne) for this year’s giveaway.
“It is just an honor to be a part of something like this. I just walked a woman to her car who actually just cried because she was not able to get layaway for a video game set for her children,” Coleman said.
Coleman said the woman thanked her and told her that it’s going to be the best Christmas now that she got the two bikes for children.
Luz Lopez, 9, stood in line with her mother waiting for her bike in the brisk wind. When Lopez got her bike her eyes lit up and she flashed a broad and enthusiastic smile, eager to start pedaling her hot-pink Sea Star Huffy bicycle sporting silver tassels on each handgrip.
“It’s good because my bicycle broke so I’m so happy that I got a new bicycle,” said Lopez.
Patricia Stewart from Lincoln stood in line with her family to pick up bikes for her two oldest kids.
“It feels cold, but it feels great at the same time, I appreciate it, it came at the right time,” said Stewart.
Amari Broxton, 12, one of Stewart’s kids, was all smiles when he got his Roadmaster mountain bike with front suspension. The bike, he said, “looks good, it’s going to be a good ride.”
One of the many volunteers on hand to ferry the bikes to the right hands was Kiwanis club member Tammy Thornburg.
“I love it, I did it last year. It’s very rewarding, makes you feel good about people,” said Thornburg.
Frankie Heard was carrying a Sea Star bike in each arm as he made his way to his car.
He said he’s got five girls he said the giveaway is, “amazing, for real.”
Wayne Sisk, Anniston Kiwanis Club president, said it’s time to bless others.
“We work hard each year to make sure the children in our community are served and their needs are met,” he said.
“We started this bicycle project three years ago through the efforts of Bill Wakefield, he donated the bike to us, he came to us and asked if we would partner with him to provide bikes for need children in our community,” said Sisk.
Sisk said that the Kiwanis Club teamed up with the Department of Human Resources and the school system to find names of kids who were not getting a bike for Christmas this year.
Sisk said that volunteers from the Donoho School, Key Club and Sparklight helped with the giveaway.
“We are just rolling them out,” said Sisk.