On Friday, Dec. 9, COTA donated 49 bikes back to the community that were left on buses over the past several months.
After 60 days, COTA tags the bikes for pickup by the Mid-Ohio Foodbank, a local nonprofit that feeds the hungry and addresses basic needs. The Foodbank, which has formed partnerships with many philanthropic organizations throughout central Ohio, then redistributes the bikes to various groups to pass on to new owners.
During the holiday season, local firefighters spruce the bikes up before they make it under a Christmas tree.
Firefighters 4 Kids has been giving toys to the needy for 34 years. Local firefighter and toy drive coordinator Doug Smith explained, "Last year we helped out over 6,400 families and 17,800 children. So, the need is great. The economy has not turned around, yet. We expect the same type of numbers this year. The bikes from COTA will be combined with 450 other bikes and all of them primed and prepped for a holiday surprise."
"It's every kid's dream to find a nice, shiny bike waiting for them on Christmas morning," said COTA spokeswoman Beth Berkemer. "This presents a great opportunity for those families that may not be able to afford one. These lost bikes are going to make some young, new owners very happy and COTA is thrilled to help make that happen."