The Times-Tribune

ALMOST LIKE CHRISTMAS MORNING

State representa­tive’s bike giveaway provides free two-wheelers to children.

- STAFF WRITER BY JON O’CONNELL

Laughing children pedaled bicycles through the Marketplac­e at Steamtown on Sunday, but no one seemed to mind.

And if they did, no one stopped them.

State. Rep. Marty Flynn and a crew of volunteers gave away 500 glistening new bicycles to disadvanta­ged kids from the Scranton School District, who selected the bikes from rows ordered by size and color on the former Bon-Ton department store’s first floor.

Giovanni Lopez, 10, walked toward the exit with his parents and a red twowheeler. He doesn’t have a bike at home, he said. But now he plans to learn to ride without training wheels.

“I’m really glad that I won this prize,” he said shyly.

His dad, who spoke only Spanish, coached his son on being grateful.

“He said for me to be thankful to the people for giving me this prize,” Giovanni said.

It was Mr. Flynn’s third bicycle giveaway event. This year marks the first to work with school district officials to identify the neediest kids, a better way to make sure those who need it most aren’t left out.

It’s also the first year funds were raised through a nonprofit, All About the Kids Bicycles Inc., which was created to track down local donors and purchase the bicycles.

Mr. Flynn, a Democrat who represents the 113th District, estimated all the bicycles cost about $30,000.

“A bike is like getting a car when you’re a kid,” he said, rememberin­g the first year, when they gave away about 100 bikes. “We said, ‘Let’s try to get as many bikes as we can.’ ”

Considerin­g the sheer number of bikes given away, organizers expected some level of deception from grinchy parents. Thom Welby, Mr. Flynn’s chief of staff, said the benefit to kids who truly appreciate the gift far outweighs any marginal cases of fraud.

Still, on Sunday night, he said one of the bicycles had already popped up for sale on the internet. Contact the writer: joconnell@timesshamr­ock.com @jon_oc on Twitter

 ?? JON O’CONNELL / STAFF PHOTO ?? New bicycles await handing out to hundreds of children Sunday at the Marketplac­e at Steamtown. State Rep. Marty Flynn coordinate­d the event, which provided free bicycles to needy children from the Scranton School District.
JON O’CONNELL / STAFF PHOTO New bicycles await handing out to hundreds of children Sunday at the Marketplac­e at Steamtown. State Rep. Marty Flynn coordinate­d the event, which provided free bicycles to needy children from the Scranton School District.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United States