Blackwell Methodist Church to hold bike give-away

by Jordan Green

Thanks to the donations received from several community members, the First United Methodist Church of Blackwell will be able to give away approximately 20 bikes to children in need this Christmas.

According to Pastor Cap McIlnay, the church has collected $700 in donations, and it expects to receive another $400.

“We'll be able to give away maybe 20 to 25 bikes,” McIlnay said. “We're going to have bicycles and tricycles for boys and girls.”

According to McIlnay, the bikes will be purchased from the local Walmart. A drawing for the bikes will be held during the church's Christmas Eve candlelight service on December 24. The service will run from 6 – 8 p.m. and is open to the public. Children who attend will be given a ticket to write their name on, and they will put the ticket in a pile to be drawn from. There is no entry fee.

McIlnay said the church hopes the drawing will help local children have a good Christmas.

“One of the best gifts a kid can get is a bike,” said McIlnay. “Even if it helps just one kid who wouldn't have had a Christmas, it's worth it. Giving bikes to kids allows them to have freedom and stay active, keeping them from being on their computers all day. It's neat.”

Donations for the giveaway are accepted.

“There are three ways to donate,” McIlnay said. “First, you can go buy a bike and bring it to us. Second, you can buy the bike and call us to have us come pick it up. And third, you can drop off a check at the church and we will buy it in your name.”

The giveaway started last year when McIlnay and his wife were mistakenly sent two bicycles they had ordered for their grandchildren in Redding, California.

“Last year, my wife and I ordered two bikes for our grandkids in Redding, but the bikes were shipped to Oklahoma. We called the company, and they said they would send two bikes to Redding. We were allowed to keep the other two. I thought it would be cool to give them away.”

After announcing that he would give the bikes away, other church members joined in to help.

“Pretty soon, we had five bikes. I'm glad we are able to have it again this year and have even more bikes,” said McIlnay.

The church is located at 524 West Coolidge Avenue. Its office hours are Monday – Thursday from 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. and Friday from 8 a.m. - noon. The church can be reached at 580-363-4565.