Building bicycles is a Christmas promise kept

Scott Campbell Christmas Promise carries on, even in pandemic

Larry Kingsella and his daughter Belen were first in line Saturday morning, parked in their vehicle, ready to build some bicycles for children in the community.

Things are different this year, but still, the same.

Volunteers load a car of bicycles in boxes Saturday as part of the Scott Campbell Christmas Promise, a program put on by Waste Connections that delivers bicycles to children of less fortunate families. Photo by Mike Schultz
Volunteers load a car of bicycles in boxes Saturday as part of the Scott Campbell Christmas Promise, a program put on by Waste Connections that delivers bicycles to children of less fortunate families. Photo by Mike Schultz

“This is one of our favorite times of the year,” Larry Kingsella said. “This has been a tradition in our family since they started it,”

This is all part of the Scott Campbell Christmas Promise, powered by Waste Connections. 

For years, Waste Connections has been ordering and then assembling bicycles for children in need during the holiday season. Usually, there is a “build day” that includes all the volunteer builders meeting each other at one site. There, they put the bikes together.

“It’s like a Clark County family reunion when we can all get together under one roof,” Kingsella said. 

Of course, there is no gathering place this year.

Vehicles were lined up at Taylor Transport as families picked up bicycles to build. Photo by Mike Schultz
Vehicles were lined up at Taylor Transport as families picked up bicycles to build. Photo by Mike Schultz

Instead of building together, volunteers were asked to pick up their number of bicycles and bring them home to build.

Still, Waste Connections made it a party. There was a DJ with Christmas music, Santa Claus showed up, as well, and there were snacks and coffee as SUVs, cars, and trucks rolled in to pick up their bikes.

This was all done, with safety protocols in place, at Taylor Transport.

“I like this idea. It’s nice. We’re going to get a little food, a little coffee, and they’re going to make it as festive as they can,” Kingsella said. “Waste Connections does a great job at this.”

Elves Dylan Johnson and Delaney Baylous help Santa hand out treats to those waiting to pick up bicycles at the Scott Campbell Christmas Promise. Photo by Mike Schultz
Elves Dylan Johnson and Delaney Baylous help Santa hand out treats to those waiting to pick up bicycles at the Scott Campbell Christmas Promise. Photo by Mike Schultz

The Kingsella family was picking up six bikes, and the whole family was expected to help assemble those bikes. 

More than a dozen vehicles were in line, waiting to have their bikes in boxes put in their trunks or trailers. And that was just in the first hour. The delivering of the bikes was scheduled to go on for three hours.

This all started with an idea from the late Scott Campbell, a civic leader and employee of Waste Connections. 

“It started off with maybe 100 bikes, maybe less than that,” said Cyndi Holloway, community affairs director at Waste Connections. “It started in our conference room, building bikes, and locating kids who needed them. It was a small operation at the beginning.”

More than 300 bikes were waiting to be built to give to children in need this holiday season. More than 200 more have been ordered. Photo by Mike Schultz
More than 300 bikes were waiting to be built to give to children in need this holiday season. More than 200 more have been ordered. Photo by Mike Schultz

Years later, it is a massive operation.

This year, a different operation, of course. And not as many bikes as in the past. Not yet, anway.

Among the many consequences of this pandemic was a shortage of bicycles and bicycle parts in 2020.

“There were no bikes to be had in the nation,” Holloway said, referring to the end of the spring. 

By July, Waste Connections started ordering bikes. Of the 600 ordered this year, Holloway said they have about 350 right now.

“That’s actually a feat within itself,” she said.

There will be a helmet with every bike built and delivered. Photo by Mike Schultz
There will be a helmet with every bike built and delivered. Photo by Mike Schultz

Those 350 or so were handed out to the builders on Saturday. The other couple hundred will arrive in the coming weeks, months. They will be assembled and delivered, Holloway said. 

Gary Morrison and Adam Monfort were in line, as well. Morrison is the general manager at BELFOR Property restoration (https://www.belfor.com/en/us). They were in a company truck. They expected to pick up as many as 20 bikes. Their employees and families also get involved in the assembling of the bikes.

“We want to be able to do some good in the community,” Morrison said. “We’re in the position to do that.”

They do it “every year,” he said.

Instead of volunteers building the bikes together under one roof this year, they were invited to pick up bicycles to bring them home to assemble. Photo by Mike Schultz
Instead of volunteers building the bikes together under one roof this year, they were invited to pick up bicycles to bring them home to assemble. Photo by Mike Schultz

Terry Hurd of Ridgefield is new to the bike build this year. He helps out with the Ridgefield Lions Club, and he was told they needed people to pick up bikes.

“I happen to have a truck, and I’m more than willing to help,” he said, noting that he volunteers as much as he can. 

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