GObike Buffalo's community workshop on Colvin Avenue recently turned into Santa's workshop, with bicycle mechanics and volunteers transforming donated two-wheelers into gifts worthy to be set under the tree on Christmas morning.
"A lot of it is about having an opportunity to do doing something good, to give back to the community," said Adam Ianni, head mechanic at the community workshop.
GObike has distributed free bikes at different times of the year. But this month, the polishing and cleaning of the bikes has had a special mission: to delight a deserving boy or girl.
The bikes have been given to the News Neediest campaign and other members of the Western New York Holiday Partnership, to be given to area families in need.
The Buffalo News Neediest fund is in its 36th campaign. Toys are distributed to needy families through the Western New York Holiday Partnership, which is administered by 211 WNY-Olmsted Center for Sight. Monetary donations go to the Food Bank of Western New York that provides extra holiday food for clients at certain Erie County food pantries.
Bikes are donated throughout the year to GObike Buffalo, which rehabs them, getting them ready for new owners. This month, 15 mechanics donated their time Sunday to fix up 63 bicycles.
"A lot of times they just need air, tightening of things, a safety check," Ianni said, adding, "a little bit of grease, and a little bit of love, wiping them down."
Most of the children's bikes that find their way to GObike Buffalo are in pretty good shape, he said.
"The kids tend to outgrow them" before they can beat them up too badly, he said.
On Monday, he helped deliver the bicycles to the WNY Partnership.
The partnership is a collaboration among 24 non-profit agencies including: 2-1-1WNY, The Buffalo News, City Reach Church, CAO of WNY, FATHERS, Fellowship Hill Ministries, Hamburg Youth Bureau, Heart Love & Soul, Ladies of Charity & Catholic Charities, Lancaster Youth Bureau, Lt. Col. Matt Urban Human Services, New Creation Fellowship, Niagara Community Action, Northtowns Boys & Girls Club, Olivencia Community Center, Olmsted Center for Sight, Operation Good Neighbor, Resurrection Life Food Pantry, Salvation Armies of Buffalo, Lockport, Niagara Falls, and Tonawandas, St. John de la Salle Community Care, St. Lawrence Children’s Clinic, United Ways of Buffalo & Erie County and Greater Niagara, and The USMC Toys for Tots Program.
You may make a donation online at buffalonews.com/news-neediest by sending a check to The News Neediest c/o The Buffalo News, PO Box 2667, Buffalo, NY, 14240.
Donations of new toys, especially for kids 8-12 years old, are accepted at Toys for Tots locations across the region, area Wegmans and many other locations. For a complete list, visit: buffalonews.com/news-neediest
For information about how to apply to receive the holiday gifts, call 2-1-1 or 888-696-9211.