(Article printed in the AJC) Every December, the North Fulton Community Charities host the Santa Shop allowing low-income families to select clothes, toys and bicycles in hopes to give their children a meaningful Christmas. But, a little over six years ago, volunteer Brian Mullenbach noticed the disappointment in a mother’s face when there were no bicycles left for her to select.
“That moment really stayed with me,” said Mullenbach. This inspired him to spread the word in his community to collect bicycles, launching Bikes for Kids. “We sent flyers to about 150 homes, and received 65 bikes.”
Those bikes, tricycles, scooters, and helmets received were cleaned, repaired and then, given to local families in the North Fulton areas. Since the first collection in 2006, the community has grown Bikes for Kids to collect over 500 bicycles every holiday season.
On Saturday, over 150 volunteers came to the NFCC Santa Shop in Roswell to help clean, repair, and inspect about 700 bicycles, tricycles, and scooters that will be distributed at the Santa Shop event on Dec. 15- 16.
Local bicycle shops also donated parts and labor to ensure that each bicycle will be in mint condition for the distribution. “It is a great way to get involved with the community to give back to kids during the holiday season,” said Mark Gernazian, of Cycle Works, who has been involved with NFCC for over 20 years.
The charity serves over 1200 families of John’s Creek, Roswell, Milton and Alpharetta areas. In addition to the holiday programs, throughout the year NFCC assists families with basic needs such as food, rent and utilities, clothing, and adult education classes during short term emergencies.
In addition to the Santa Shop, volunteers can get involved throughout the year at the thrift store, the NFCC office, and special events.
Program Director Eden Purdy added, “When we see all these people who come out on a Saturday to help make the holidays better for deserving families, it really puts the spirit into giving and lifting each other up as a community.”
To get involved with North Fulton Community Charities, visit www.nfcchelp.org