Christmas came early: Orlando police gift 100 students new bikes
Academy Sports and Outdoors donates bikes, helmets to deserving students
ORLANDO, Fla. – Christmas came early for 100 Orlando students who were selected to receive a new bicycle and helmet this holiday season.
Eight-year-old Jacob Forst was excited to receive his new bike Saturday morning at Orlando Police headquarters.
“My old bike was falling apart and I really need a new one. It looks cool to me,” Forst said.
Forst said he couldn't wait to try out his new wheels.
"Around the block with my friends like I always do," he said.
Orlando police officers turned into Santa's elves this holiday season. OPD partnered with Academy Sports and Outdoors to give new bikes and helmets to 100 children.
“When you can get the community involved, giving back, having first responders select these children from schools, deserving children, it just makes it all come together quite nicely,” said Michael Reynolds, with Academy Sports and Outdoors.
Sgt. David Baker with OPD said school resource officers selected the students.
"They picked them based on needing a bike, but also the way they performed in school," Baker said. "Grades, helping out teachers, administrators. So the students who have been selected really deserve to get this new bike today."
The officers helped the kids pick up their new bicycle, taught them bike safety, and make sure everyone had a properly fitted helmet.
But the day was extra special for 8-year-old Evan Shields. After he got his new bike, he decided to pay the kindness forward. Shields brought his old bicycle with him to OPD headquarters so another child can enjoy it.
“I am donating my old bike, cause I just got a new one, to a kid who needs a bike,” Shields said.
Police said the bike giveaway brings so much joy to the students.
"We love giving back to the community, showing that we are part of the community beyond out just enforcing laws," Baker said.
This marks the 18th year of Academy Sports and Outdoors’ bike donation program. Reynolds said 1,500 bikes will be donated to children across the country.
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