Bicycles for kids

A youngster is glad to receive his bicycle during a giveaway which was held at the Fontana Community Senior Center.  (Herald News photo by Alejandro Cano)

Acts 20:35 in the New International Version of the Bible reads: "It is more blessed to give than to receive."

Acting upon this philosophy, two community leaders brightened the lives of dozens of deserving children during two different bicycle giveaway events held last week in Fontana.

Thanks to the generous donations of the USS Foundation and the Cycling Connection, 200 low-income kids received a brand new bike on Dec. 17 and 18.

The first event was held at Fontana Mobile Home Park, where USS Foundation founder Adel Sayegh, from Rancho Cucamonga, helped Santa Claus deliver 100 new bikes to the kids -- most of whom have never owned a bike. Perhaps it was the only gift they would receive for Christmas.

“We have done many charitable events across the nation, and it is always a pleasure to give than to receive. But we have noticed that there is also a great need locally, so that’s why this year we decided to help our neighbors," said Sayegh, who is very familiar with poverty, having been grown in a harsh situation. “I know the feeling of having nothing; I know the pain, the struggles, and that moves me to continue doing what we do."

The idea to deliver the bikes at the mobile home park came about during Thanksgiving, when Sayegh, along with many volunteers, delivered dinners at the park. It was then that Sayegh witnessed that many of the families had several children living in a small mobile unit and were even sharing rooms with siblings or relatives. It was then that he realized he had to act to put a smile on their faces.

His goal to make kids smile was reached, and in the process he also made some parents shed tears of joy.

Those sentiments were also seen a day later at the Fontana Community Senior Center, where Sayegh, together with Tom Tisler, founder of Cycling Connection, delivered another 100 new bikes in addition to brand new helmets for safety.

For years, Tisler had managed to deliver 50 new bikes per year for the Fontana Police Department's annual giveaway, but this time it was double the fun.

“More kids -- that is great," he said.

During the bike deliveries at the Senior Center, Tisler received a check for $800 from Tour de Foothills, and another one for $520 from Plain Wrap Ride to continue providing the bikes and helmets.

Fontana Police Chief Rod Jones applauded the effort and reminded kids and parents about the importance of safety on the road. Jones said that all bicyclists should wear the helmets in order to prevent injuries.

The children who received the bikes were referred by Fontana school teachers and selected by Fontana Police Department Crime Prevention staff members.

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