By Herm Card
For the 25th time, Jan Maloff and his legion of volunteers brought some year-round joy to Central New York through the annual CNY Bike Giveaway. As Maloff looked on, hundreds of parents and children wove their way among some 2,000 donated, refurbished bicycles in the Fowler High School gymnasium, looking for just the right one.
Volunteers circulated to help with recommendations, selections, test rides and minor adjustments.
Members of the Syracuse Police Department’s Community Relations Section helped maintain COVID-19 protocols, limiting entrance to the gym to small numbers at a time. Distancing and mask-wearing guidelines were enforced, and after selections were made, families exited the gym opposite the entrance, and were able to select safety helmets as they left.
Maloff’s generosity speaks to his childhood vision that every kid should have a bicycle. He has dedicated much of his adult life to that end, and that generosity extends into the community and beyond. On Dec. 17, his organization donated some 1,200 bikes to local health care workers and their families, and his plans for bikes not adopted during the Dec. 19 giveaway will benefit people far beyond CNY.
“We want to get some bikes to Kentucky,” he said. A lot of people (tornado victims) there have no transportation at all. Bikes can help them deal with some of the necessities.”
Better than many of us, Maloff understands the role of the bicycle. It is a toy to some, a necessity for others, but regardless of which, it does not always easily fit into a family’s budget. Tens of thousand of donated bikes in 25 years have helped ease that burden, and now year 26 begins.
Want to feel good while making others happy? Here’s the place to start, CNY Bicycle Giveaway Foundation at http://www.cnyfamilybike.org.