In the so called “Food Basket of The World”, it would surprise most people that some families of the San Joaquin Valley go without a traditional Christmas. Growing up in this area of great abundance, I am all too familiar with the embarrassment of returning to school after the Christmas holidays and not being able to share in the “What did you get for Christmas?” revelries. The world we know as a child is incredibly small, and any gift, however insignificant, is a tremendous joy and blessing.
In the winter of 1983, the dry spell of no toys for christmas ended. On what appeared to be a normal trip to the grocery store, my parents made a turn into a nondescript strip mall, where we entered a dusty office of sorts. There were old office partitions, and various chairs of different shapes and sizes for us to sit on. This office felt cobbled together with hand me down parts, presumably from the vestiges of better offices. We were waiting, for I don’t know what, until a lady said they were ready for us. My sister and I were led through the maze of partitions until we reached the back of the office. There, sitting in what must have been his temporary office away from the North Pole, sat Santa, with all his might and glory. My sister and I looked at each other, then at santa, then at my parents, (who were wearing coy smiles), and then again at each other, before we ran and jumped up on Santa’s lap! Finally some toys for Christmas!
This year, as a member of the Santa Barbara Bike Coalition, along with the volunteers at Bici Centro, we have the opportunity to help spread some Christmas cheer to children that may otherwise go without Christmas presents. With the help of the City of Santa Barbara for the purchase of new helmets and the Franklin Neighborhood Center for selecting families on the Eastside, we will give away 25-30 refurbished bicycles to young children in the community. Although Bici Centro lacks the shine and polish of a fancy toy store or a pretentious shopping mall, we have the dusty homegrown feel of a good non-profit outfit, down to the used mismatched office chairs.
Anonymous SBBike/Bici Centro volunteer
On Saturday, December 21st at 10:00am, Bici Centro, a project of the Santa Barbara Bicycle Coalition (SBBike), is hosting its first "A Bike 4 Christmas" event at the community DIY bicycle repair shop located at 506 E. Haley St.
SBBike/Bici Centro anonymous volunteer behind the idea “A Bike 4 Christmas” is hoping that it will become an annual event involving more partners & volunteers to fulfill the dream of many young children in our community…
More info: www.bicicentro.org/events