Chris Stockman volunteers at Pedal It Forward, repairing bikes that are given to people in need. At Christmas time the organization focuses on children’s bikes and sends hundreds out with the help of partners. (Special to NWA Democrat-Gazette/Lynn Atkins)
Although they don't all resemble Santa's elves, there's a group of volunteers working hard to give some area children a special Christmas gift.
Pedal it Forward is a nonprofit organization that gives away about 2,000 bicycles a year. The group is located on Wishing Spring Road, a short way from U.S. 71B.
"We believe everyone deserves a bike," director Kenny Williams said, "but around the holidays we focus on kids."
They accept used bikes year round and volunteers clean and repair them. Bikes are usually distributed through "Pedal Partners" that range from the Department of Veterans Affairs to Sharing and Caring of Benton County. Currently, there are over 60 partners, Williams said.
Recently, he was preparing for one of the group's larger orders -- 250 children's bikes that would be distributed to families at a special event at the Scott Family Amazeum. The organization will also send bikes to Sharing and Caring and similar organizations all over Northwest Arkansas. Those groups pass them on to children as Christmas gifts. It's more efficient, Williams said, to distribute through another organization that knows where the bikes are needed.
In early December, hundreds of children's bikes are stored in the rafters at one of their two locations, waiting to be gifted. They also partner with the area bike shops that will accept donations for the nonprofit.