BOISE -- For a child at Christmas time, there are few things better than finding that bicycle you've always wanted under the tree. But for many kids in the community, their families can't afford that, which is where the Boise Bicycle Project steps in.
Every year, the BBP refurbishes and hands out bicycles to kids in need. Saturday, was their biggest event of the year. Hundreds of kids took home bicycles, and for some of them, it was their first ever.
"This time of year, it's like working at the North Pole," said Jimmy Hallyburton, the Executive Director of the Boise Bicycle Project. "We get all these volunteers working in here. It's kind of like having Santa's elves. They're working away, tinkering on bikes. Pretty soon, you have to gift them away. It's kind of a fun day to be Santa Claus."
Saturday, the BBP gave out about 350 refurbished bikes and also helmets for the Christmas Kids Bike Giveaway.
"This is the 6th year that we've done this, and it's a ton of work to put something like this on, to repair this many bicycles. But, we've done it before, so we know what the end result is," said Hallyburton. "So, all the hard work becomes really really easy."
The end result is getting a bike to a kid like Zander. It was his first-ever.
"It's amazing," said Zander's mom, Kristen Woodard. "People are out there struggling, and they can't afford things that they really want. And, these guys are able to give it to us."
Almost every kid wrote about or drew their dream bike, and the BBP tried to make each dream come true.
Woodard said Zander wanted a Bronco bike. "He wrote BSU in blue and orange, and then colored blue and orange all over the paper."
That's exactly what he got.
"I love it," said Woodard.
Hallyburton said there's extra motivation when you're working on bikes for this giveaway. "When you start working on a bike, you think about 'I have to put in the extra mile for this kid, because who knows what this kid is going to come from? They may be from a foster family, a broken home, and it's really going to make their holiday a lot brighter, and it might be the only thing."
"Thank God for the Boise Bike Project," said Woodard.
Hallyburton also took time to thank the other organizations that helped out Saturday. Jim's Appliance and Furniture helped store 300 bikes for BBP. Whole Foods served soup. Also, the group's incredible army of volunteers not only helped with the bikes, but also handed out some clothes.
Hallyburton says BBP set a record for the number of bikes they've given away in a single event.