ORANGE COUNTY,Fla. – Some children received their Christmas gifts a couple of days early as nearly 100 bicycles were delivered outside Howard Middle School on Monday.
The giveaway was part of the Wheels for Kids program, which brings new bikes to children in the Reeves Terrace neighborhood.
Jennifer Burnett’s 8-year-old daughter was one of the 88 children who received a bicycle.
“It just fills my heart with joy when I see them because they have smiles on their faces,” Burnett said.
District 4 Commissioner Patty Sheehan developed the annual program in 2002 after bus service was taken away from the neighborhood that sits between Thorton Park and the East-West Expressway.
According to Sheehan, more than 1,200 bicycles have been given away to families in need over the last 17 years.
Each year, the bikes are gathered through donations from the community and local businesses and then assembled by firefighters at Orlando's Fire Station One.
"A bicycle is probably the best gift a kid can receive for Christmas and here we are making it happen for them," Orlando Fire Department Chief Benjamin Barksdale said.
Helmets and bike locks were also given to kids that received bikes on Monday.