Jackie Wessels, coordinator of Bikes for Tykes, remembers her parents struggling to pay the bills, with no extra money for Christmas presents, especially a big-ticket item like a bicycle. There were years she and her family dreaded Christmas morning.

Wessels donated one bike and helmet in 2014. Eight year later, that act of kindness has evolved into Bikes for Tykes, a group that works to ensure high risk children in the Quad Cities are able to find that magical item under the tree. This year’s goal is to raise $20,000 to provide 150 children who are registered with Toys for Tots with a gift package of a bike, helmet, air pump and lock (for larger bikes). To top off the gift with a (figurative) cherry on top, a Whitey’s gift card will be included. Bikes for Tykes supplies the majority of bikes for Toys for Tots. Their focus is to provide as many larger bikes as possible for kids ages 10-12. These children are often the “forgotten children” because the bikes cost more.

(qcbc.org)

Russell Construction has provided a 10,000 square foot first floor building for bike display, assembly and maintenance. Quad Cities Bike Club members thoroughly inspect each bike to ensure it is safe for riding. Community organizations volunteer to help pump up tires, bag accessories and give each bike a test ride. The group plans to shop for bikes on November 8, then load and deliver them to the storage location on November 10. The bikes will be assembled and tested on November 15.

Donations may be sent to Paul Gilbert, 3001 Emerald Drive, Davenport, IA  52804, made payable to “Bikes for Tykes” or you can donate directly here. For more information, contact Jackie Wessels at wesselsjackie@yahoo.com or call (563) 210-3900.