An Edmonds Boy Scout who loves bicycling wants to double the number of bikes for distribution to local families in need this holiday season at the Edmonds Toy Shop.
For his Troop 312 Eagle Project, 16-year-old Sam Harris has a goal of doubling the number of gently-used or new bikes given last year to local kids in need from about 50 to more than 100 this year. This bikes are given out at the annual Edmonds Toy Shop at Edmonds United Methodist Church on Dec. 9.
His bike collection events are set for two Sundays, Nov. 5 and 19, from noon to 4 p.m. at Edmonds United Methodist Church, 828 Caspers St. He and other scouts from his troop will clean and do minor repairs on the donated, gently-used bikes.
“Our troop volunteers at the Toy Shop every year, so I’ve seen what a difference these donations mean to families,” Harris said. “That and my interest in bicycling is what inspired me to do this Eagle Project. If we ‘Double the Bikes’ we can double the amount of kids in need to have a better holiday this year.”
The Toy Shop, set for Dec. 9 at the church, helps parents who can’t afford to purchase a bike or other toys to “shop” with dignity. The bikes give kids the gift of exercise, recreation and, for teenagers, a way to get to school, work or other activities.
More than 300 families and 1,000 kids benefit from the EUMC Toy Shop every year, which serves parents in need who are already receiving services through the Edmonds Food Bank and/or Washington Kids In Transition, which serves homeless families in the Edmonds School District. Parents who otherwise couldn’t afford holiday presents for their kids can shop for toys, bikes, books and warm coats.
Harris made it clear he is a supporting an existing donation program, and credited a team of countless, passionate volunteers who’ve been collecting and distributing toys and bikes, and servicing donated used bikes to get them ready for giving, for more than 30 years. Long-time volunteer Coralie Shephard has been a key player in gathering bikes and is advising Harris on the project.
“It’s amazing how this community comes together every year – from the volunteers running the Toy Shop, to the local businesses and individuals donating toys and money,” Harris said. “I like knowing that I can help make a difference.”
Harris said his effort involves some collection events, and aggressively getting the word out about how cool it is to donate a bike. He is leveraging the social networks of his friends, fellow Scouts, their parents, church members, and the local media.
“Some donated bikes are brand new, but most are used but still in good shape. Many were just sitting in garages collecting dust because kids outgrew them,” Harris said. “Ideally, we want bikes that aren’t rusty or in need of major repairs.” For bikes that might need more than a minor repair, Harvy Massoud of Harvy’s Bike Shop in Lynnwood helps fix bikes for the Toy Shop, generously donating his time and materials each year to this great cause.
If you have a gently used or new bike to donate, you can drop it off on Sunday, Nov. 5 or 19, from noon to 4 p.m., at Edmonds United Methodist Church, 828 Caspers St., Edmonds or contact Harris at 425-775-7022 or by email at [email protected]. He is also collecting cash donations for purchasing bike helmets at www.youcaring.com/edmondsunitedmethodistchurchtoyshop-992840.
To learn more about the Edmonds Toy Shop or to donate other toys, visit www.facebook.com/EdmondsToyShop or contact Pamela Frank at 425-582-1732.