Although standing out in the unforgiving cold waiting on the order of approximately one-hundred bikes isn’t the ideal way to spend Christmas eve, what we are doing it for is beyond worth it. December 24th was the day when I encountered a life changing experience.
My Dad and the rest of the firefighters all save up annually for bikes to give away to local kids in our town. There are nearly 13 million kids' worldwide who live in poverty so we as a community try our hardest to be there for anyone who needs a helping hand. As we unload the tremendous number of bikes, I begin to see the children gawking at the long trail of freedom on two wheels that carries on behind us. Just seeing the glow of the kids' faces made me smile from ear to ear. I was then met with an unforgiving thought that sent chills down my spine. What happens to the other thousands of kids who don’t have a Christmas? It's not the kids fault they don’t get to celebrate the rush of opening the delicately wrapped present on a cool Christmas day. Around 50% of Americans either don’t celebrate Christmas, or they can't financially. I shrugged off the distasteful thought and got back to work.
We finally get the array of bikes set up and the kids get to come pick their new surprise. I had never in my life seen so many thankful, and caring kids who just want a Christmas like everyone else. One girl walked up to me and said " I appreciate the bikes, this is the first Christmas I've had in 3 years." That’s when I knew things had to be different. Although most people feel as if they don’t need to contribute or help to those in need, I believe that we all can give a little in any way possible.
Finally, after a dragging day of work, we got to go home. That night I realized without us, those smiling faces wouldn’t have those smiles. Our society is so wrapped up in the thought of receiving, that they forget to give. We all need to come together and be there for others and learn to give. Just offering a few hours of volunteering at your local shelter or donating cans to an organization can bring a smile on anyone's face.