Two words describe 11-year-old Phillip Tucker's bicycle.
“Happiness and joy,” beamed a talkative Tucker.
The shiny blue bicycle wasn't a gift, Phillip had to earn it by studying hard in the Boys and Girls Summer Brain Gain program.
“I felt very proud of myself because in my mind I felt like I earned this, and I worked towards this. It was a very happy feeling,” Tucker said.
Dewayne Wilson is the Co-Founder of Bike Elf which is a nonprofit that takes donated used bicycles and gives them to deserving children who earn them through partner organizations like the Boys and Girls Club.
“We think it's important for kids to set a goal, work towards it for some time, and if they meet the goal, they get the reward, and if they don't, they don't get the reward,” Wilson said. “We refurbish them, fix them up, and give them to kids who earn them, either by honor roll, or youth of the month, or something with a partner organization.”
While the bike giveaways take place all throughout the year, Wilson said the majority of the donated bikes they receive come from their “After-Christmas Bike Drive,” which is scheduled for Jan. 6.
“The After-Christmas Bike Drive is huge for us. It's when we collect half or more of the bikes we get for the whole year,” Co-Founder Leigh Wilson said. “That inventory allows us to make commitments to partner organizations.”
The Wilsons, who started Bike-Elf three years ago, are hoping to collect several gently-used children's bikes.
“We really can't' deal with rust. But, if the bike has a great saddle on it or other good parts, and the body is rusted, then we could part the bike out,” Leigh Wilson explained.
The bike drive is Saturday, Jan. 6, 2018 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the old Fort Craig Elementary school in Blount County which is now the Boys and Girls Club.
If you don't have a bike to donate but would like to donate your time at the drive, you can visit www.Bike-Elf.org.