Never let a great Christmas present go to waste.
Actually, in this case they are coming from Waste Connections, that is. The staff at the company, which opened a branch in Haltom City last year, continued their tradition of building and delivering bicycles to needy children with their Christmas Promise Bike Build recently.
The staff bought, built and distributed 120 bicycles, then gave them to Birdville Elementary parents for their children at Christmas. They also gave out helmets with each bike.
"The parents were all so excited,” said Julie Orebaugh, Haltom City community projects coordinator. “They're looking forward to hiding them from their kids until Christmas and seeing the surprised look on their faces when they find them."
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Names of the parents were kept anonymous by Haltom School officials so as to not take a chance on children having their Christmas surprise spoiled.
Orebaugh said the city used two forms of criteria for choosing Birdville Elementary, the amount of students in the free or reduced lunch program.
Bikes were distributed through a lottery system at the school, Orebaugh said. Families fill out forms, telling whether they want or need a bike, and those who do are entered into the lottery.
Once the names were drawn, each bike was labeled for a particular student. This year the distribution was equal, 60 boys and 60 girls.
This is the second year for the local contributions and 17th year for the program nationwide. Last year Progressive Waste merged with Waste Connections and 146 bicycles were donated to Major Chaney Elementary School in Haltom City.
"They contacted us last year for the first time and said they had a few bikes they'd like to give us," said Julie Orebaugh said. "It turned out to be a lot of bikes. They were modest."
Other area cities benefitting from the program include several in the Justin area, along with Cleburne and Dallas, said Marty Grant, the company's Fort Worth district manager.
"All of the employees from route drivers, mechanics, sales, and office staff really enjoy seeing the bikes delivered and putting them together as a group with knowing that they are going to put a smile on a child’s face somewhere in their community," Grant said.
This is part of a national program the corporate headquarters of Waste Connections out of the Woodlands encourages all of their locations to participate in every year, said Grant. Along with buying, building and delivering bikes, the company matches dollar for-dollar any funds collected by the employees to double the amount of bikes they can purchase and donate.
"Everyone looks back and always remembers that first bike that they received when they were a young child," Grant said. "Waste Connections wants to make sure as many kids as possible do not miss out on that great memory growing up..”
"It is an enormous blessing to the staff of Birdville Elementary School to be able to provide such an incredible present to our students through the Christmas Promise Bike Build," said Laurie Hindman, counselor at Birdville Elementary and the school's coordinator for the program. "The families are extremely grateful when they receive the bikes and helmets. We very much appreciate Waste Connection."