VAN BUREN, Maine - A Van Buren organization is doing its part to ensure youth in the community spend more time outside this year. Kathy McCarty went to Van Buren on Saturday and has more on what took place.
Communities across the nation are looking for ways to get kids outside and away from electronics. In Van Buren, the Knights of Columbus are doing their part, giving away more than 40 bicycles on Saturday to area youth, ranging in age from pre-school to sixth grade.
"We're looking at giving back to our community and making some kids really happy,' says James Lapointe.
The bike giveaway was a town-wide effort.
"The donations were provided by people and businesses throughout the community. The community's been very receptive - very, very willing to help. It's a good cause."
Bikes were set up inside the K of C Hall, complete with name tags identifying the respective owners. A total of 42 children rode away with a new bicycle.
"They are coming in to pick up their bikes. We've notified all the winners and there should be some happy children here."
Among those happy winners were twin sisters Mya and Ava Perkins. The second graders are looking forward to testing their new wheels this summer.
"Riding it around the block," says Mya Perkins.
"Just riding around." says Ava Perkins.
Lapointe says he hopes other groups and organizations will look for ways to get children involved in more physical activities and away from a sedentary lifestyle.
"We're trying to get their attention focused away from these things right here - get 'em outside."
In addition to the bicycles, each child received a new helmet. Once presented their bikes, the children gathered outside where volunteers fit their helmets and adjusted seats for them. Lapointe says the giveaway wouldn't have been possible but for the generosity of others, including efforts by the Van Buren Police Department, Rec Department, and school system.