1,400 bikes given away in Wyoming neighborhood

WYOMING, Mich. -- Nearly 300 volunteers helped Santa Claus by delivering 1,400 bicycles and 300 treasure boxes to children in the parking lot of North Godwin Elementary School in Godwin Heights on Saturday morning.

It was all part of an annual effort, now in its 12th year, by local nonprofit Elves & More West Michigan.

Last week, more than 300 volunteers gathered at Amway’s world headquarters to assemble 1,100 of 1,400 bikes. The other 300 bikes were recently assembled by nearly 300 Amway employees at its Ada campus. Aside from Amway’s contribution, individual and corporate members paid for the remaining bikes. Each $65 donation to Elves and More provided the funding of a bike and safety helmet.

To get the bikes to North Godwin today, more than 300 volunteers gathered at Van’s Delivery Service this morning and convoyed to the Godwin Heights neighborhood. Local police and fire departments escorted the caravan of semis and cars.

The organization, which is a registered nonprofit, aims to bring hope to children ages 3 to 16 in one neighborhood each year with the free bicycle and gift giveaway. In the last 11 years, Elves and More West Michigan has provided 13,600 new bikes and helmets and 3,600 treasure bags of toys and needed items to all the children in 11 neighborhoods of Grand Rapids.

“With the financial help of many generous people and companies and the continuous efforts of our volunteers, we were able to have another amazing year of providing bikes and gifts to children of Grand Rapids,” said Elves and More West Michigan founder and board member Liz Bracken. “We are excited to bring the same joy we’ve delivered these past years to a new neighborhood of at least 1,400 children."

Bracken is president, CFO and COO of Grand River Bank.

You can learn more about Elves and More West Michigan at www.elvesandmorewestmi.org.

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