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'Christmas In July' Bike Giveaway Expands Annual Holiday Event

photo of Akron North Hill bikes and Williams family
The Williams family was first-in-line for Sunday's 'Christmas In July' bike giveaway from nonprofit Elves & More. The group usually has the giveaway in December -- and will continue to do so -- but is conducting a trial expansion this year.

Five-hundred kids have new bicycles today thanks to a “Christmas in July” event in Akron.

On Schiller Avenue in North Hill early Sunday morning one youngster could be heard shouting, “Who wouldn’t want free bikes? It’s summertime!” as six medium-sized trucks pulled up. The trucks were packed with small bikes and 10-speeds donated by Dayton-based Huffy and other community partners. The nonprofit Elves & More organized the effort and distributed the bikes.

The organization has handed out a total of about 14,000 bikes over 14 years. Usually, that happens just before Christmas. But co-founder Tim House said this year is a trial run to see if they should expand.

“At Christmas time, the streets are snow covered [and] you don’t actually get to see the kids riding away. So they’re walking their bikes home and they stare at them till probably March or April when they get out and ride them.”

House adds that the December event will still take place this year. Marquetta Williams and her husband were first in line with their three daughters.

“We’ve actually been trying to do this for the past two years. Every time we get there, we get in the line [and] they run out of bikes. Now, we can go to the pier [at] Summit Lake and ride the trail. I’m getting my bike fixed so that’s what we’ll be doing for the rest of the summer. Probably once or twice a week.”

House and co-founder Brian Miner say they hope to promote not only health and wellness with the bicycles, but also to give kids a way to get to after-school programs or even jobs for older children.