When he saw an Indianapolis sports radio host’s tweet last month about giving bicycles to children in need, Steve Baldwin thought about his own hometown.
Baldwin saw an opportunity to follow the example set by WFNI-AM (1070) personality Dan Dakich and his wife, Leigh, who raises money each year for bicycles and equipment. The Dakich Cycles for the City Program recently delivered 150 bikes, helmets and locks to children around Indianapolis.
Baldwin asked local leaders if there was a similar program in Montgomery County. Boys & Girls Club director Craig Reeves referred him to the Youth Service Bureau’s REINdear program, which liked the idea but rarely gets requests for bikes.
“I took the ball and ran with it,” Baldwin said by phone last week from the Washington D.C. area, where he was on a temporary work assignment.
Baldwin collected the names of students from the three local school districts and donations came in from local business owners and anonymous donors. More than $5,500 was raised to purchase 42 bikes.
Suzie made the trip to Walmart with their son, Dane, and his girlfriend Maitlin, along with Southmont senior Dori Frederick and her parents and Fountain Central senior Brent Myers to load up the bikes, which have been distributed.
The Baldwins themselves purchased six additional bikes for students in the Fountain Central district, where Suzie is a teacher, and delivered them last weekend.
“The nice thing about this is, a lot of these kids — they might not have had a Christmas. See, I’m getting goosebumps just talking about this,” Baldwin said.
A contact from one of the schools relayed a message from the grandmother of a recipient.
“We can give him the bike for Christmas,” she said, according to Baldwin. “Let everyone know that is doing this that it’s making a difference.”
Baldwin wants to make this an annual tradition. He plans to launch a non-profit organization, tentatively called Montgomery County Bikes for Kids, and has recruited local residents to serve on the board.
To donate to next year’s effort, call Baldwin at 765-366-6929.