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Old Bridge Village gets it done for needy

December 11, 2013
By CHUCK?BALLARO (news@breezenewspapers.com) , North Fort Myers Neighbor

For an entire year, volunteers at Old Bridge Village Yacht Club have raised money to purchase bikes and toys for the neediest children in the area.

And when you saw the three big Salvation Army trucks picking up the spoils of their work on Monday, you'd have to say they were successful.

According to Denise Kedian, on of the many participants, the club had raised approximately $6,000 for bikes and $4,000 for toys, games and sporting gear.

"They came with two big trucks and took the 100 bikes and 11 banquet tables of toys, then had to come back with a third truck to get the rest of it," Kedian said. "Just seeing the looks on their faces was very gratifying. They were impressed with what they saw."

Salvation Army volunteer drivers Justin Benollo and William Conley were amazed at the huge array of gifts that was awaiting them as they arrived.

"This is phenomenal," Benollo exclaimed. "We don't usually see anything like this many bikes and toys. This is going to take care of a lot of children."

"This really blesses our hearts. It must have taken a lot of people to make this happen," Conley said.

Old Bridge Yacht Club volunteers helped load the trucks, and all the gifts wouldn't fit into the two huge moving trucks, they returned an hour later to pick up the rest.

Old Bridgers held bake sales craft fairs, a silent auction and a Burgers for Bikes dinner. They also raffled off gift baskets and solicited donations.

They were so successful that they had problems finding enough bikes, Kedian said. Thankfully, other retailers were ready to step in.

"We had been getting them from Toys R Us and their employees assembled the bikes," Kedian said. "This year, they were 18 bikes short, so we went to the Wal-mart on Pine Island Road and they not only came up with the bikes at a discount but assembled them and threw in 18 helmets."

Since 2001, Old Bridge Village Yacht Club has run the campaign for Toys for Tots, the U.S. Marines and the Salvation Army to deliver bikes and toys to deserving area children.

For many of these children, these might be the only Christmas gifts they receive, Kedian said.

 
 

 

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