Non-profit doles out bikes, smiles to less fortunate kids
NOVEMBER 25, 2014
BY SARAH NOLAN
The unfettered freedom and fun of riding a bicycle is a feeling that many link inextricably with childhood. But sadly, the experience of learning to ride is not universal.
Long Island resident Enrico DeLuca knows this all too well. When he was around eight years old, his parents split up. His mother struggled to support DeLuca and his two siblings, working a job at a supermarket to pay for their one-bedroom apartment. There was no bike for him to ride – until a young couple down the road took it upon themselves to buy him a Ross Apollo 5-speed.
“That was over 40 years ago, but I’ll always remember it,” DeLuca said, recalling how much joy the gift brought him.
Last year, DeLuca decided to start a non-profit organization as a way of “paying it forward.” Bikes for Kids has donated more than 375 bikes to children in need so far, including three to a family in Allendale recently, with the help of Councilman Steve Sasso, a long-time colleague of DeLuca’s.
Sasso is serving as the ambassador to the New Jersey chapter of the project. DeLuca said bikes have been donated in New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Florida and North Carolina.
The effectiveness of the project really hit home for Sasso after he heard from the family that one of their children that received a bike had been outside cycling all afternoon, only coming inside when it was time for dinner.
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