The Salvation Army is partnering with a Lower Sackville sporting goods store to give out free bicycles in Halifax Thursday to kids who might not otherwise have access to one.
Salvation Army spokesperson Jamie Locke says Sportwheels' Giving Forward Together program collects and refurbishes the used bikes, then distributes them at the Open Arms Centre on Uniacke St.
"Ron, who works [at Sportwheels], says he goes through every bike to make sure that they're safe, makes any needed repairs and changes out tires," Locke explains. "Then Sportswheels comes during the day of distribution to adjust the bikes for each child so they're safe and ready to go."
Hundreds of bikes have already been given out since the start of Giving Forward Together, with another 80 or so to be doled out tomorrow afternoon.
"It's proven to be a program that brings a lot of excitement and a lot of joy into the lives of children who, maybe otherwise, wouldn't get a bike and have that experience of freedom that a bicycle brings," Locke says.
It's not too late to donate that unused bike collecting dust in your garage or basement, as Sportwheels collects bicycles year round at their Sackville Dr. store.
The Salvation Army is hoping the expand the program by partnering with an organization that could donate cycling equipment, especially bike helmets.
Locke adds, while the organization's main mission is to make sure people have access to the basics, it's also important to support physical activity and fun in the community.
"The smiles and the laughter on the day we're giving out these bikes, that's what really says it all," says Locke.