Community donates bikes for kids after theft from church
What started off as a disaster for an organization serving its community has become an opportunity for greater giving. Now, two dozen kids in Schenectady who would've been without bicycle will get to hit the streets on two-wheels. Innae Park has the heart-warming update.
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SCHENECTADY, N.Y. – “I didn't expect it. I really didn't,” said Ted Ward, Senior Pastor at Koinonia Christian Center.
Dismay turned into disbelief, and then delight, as more than two dozen bikes are stolen from that center in Schenectady less than two weeks ago. That’s due to the fact that 20 other bicycles now stand in their place, as word of the burglary aired and donations began coming in.
Owner of Danker Florist, Debbie Hall, donated two of her children’s old bicycles as soon as she heard. “I'm all about the kids. Anything that has to do with kids, that kind of pulls at my heartstrings, because my grandkids live in Florida, not even here.”
Robert Reese also called Pastor Ward to offer up two brand-new bikes. “God bless YNN and Pastor Ted, for what you're all doing for these kids,” he said. “When I saw your story, it was heartfelt.”
Pastor Ward's goal is to make sure kids have bicycles, and his ministry focuses on providing them, or repairing the ones kids have. “These kids use their bicycles not only just as activities, but they use it for transportation, and they use it for just fun, to let some energy out,” he said.
These two-wheeled treasures will be given out this fall at the ministry's annual event, "Schenectady Wild Jamboree." This year, the sheriff's office will even be giving out free helmets. However, there's one element still missing.
Once the kids get the bikes, it's possible that they could be stolen, so Koinonia is thinking about accepting donations of locks so that kids don't end up losing their gift.
“Kids love bikes, and these are really good bikes for them,” said Reese, who plans to save up money to buy another new bike to donate come Jamboree. “I just pray they're happy and that it does some good for those people.”
As for those who stole the original bicycles, they're still out there. But the pastor's message to them is a unique one.
“We hope that they have a heart with what they have, they will share it,” said Ward.
The center is still accepting donations of bicycles, and now, locks too. If you'd like to give or volunteer at the Jamboree, call the center at (518) 772-5077.
You can also mail donations to:
Koinonia Christian Ministries
P.O. Box 3421
Schenectady NY 12303