Utica, N.Y. - The annual Utica Safe Schools Healthy Students Build-A-Bike Giveaway once again has brought smiles to so many kids faces in the Greater Utica area.
Saturday's Build-A-Bike Giveaway was held for the second straight year at the Jorgensen Athletic Center at M.V.C.C. after so many years at the Utica Memorial Auditorium.
Build-A-Bike Giveaway Coordinator Dave Buck says it's always a bit chaotic the last week leading up to the event, as so many volunteers work so hard to get those last minute bike donations up to par to be given away, "I'm like do I have enough bikes, do I have an enough helmets, are the kids going to show up? And then as the first kid comes through and you see that big bright smile and the kid has his bike and it’s just that warm and fuzzy feeling and that’s why we do this program."
Buck says this truly has become an international event, as so many refugees that have come to Utica are so, so happy to receive a bike, "I think there’s either 42 or 62 different dialects in the city of Utica and we have different interpreters that come in here and help us out with the communication barrier, it’s phenomenal."
Retired Utica school teacher Deb Martin who has volunteered at this event the past several years helping kids with filling their tires and adjusting their seats before they head out the door says she looks forward to seeing the kids from other countries get so excited, "Well that’s our city, that’s the beauty of Utica, all of these different ethnicities all in one city and the commonality of wanting their kids to have a bike."
Buck says the process of collecting for next year will now begin this coming week.