By Pat Jenkins
Nancy Mettler remembers how it all started.
The year was 2008. The Eatonville woman wanted to make Christmas brighter for kids of local families that didn’t have much. So she donated three shiny new bicycles to Eatonville Family Agency for the social services organization to give to deserving children.
The agency reported back to her that the bikes were in such demand that low-income families had to draw lots for them. That got Mettler thinking.
In 2009, she organized and spread the word about a bike donation drive for needy kids for Christmas. She set a goal of 20 bikes and, to her amazement, wound up with 79.
“I had bikes stashed everywhere. It snowballed from there,” Mettler said.
In 2011, the second year of what has become a biannual event, the Santa’s Bike drive took in 78 donations. The goal for this year’s campaign is to reach that number or, as Mettler hopes, top it.
Last Saturday was the final collection day in advance of Family Agency giving the bikes out for Christmas. With what was already donated and lined up outside Mountain Fitness, the business Mettler owns, plus a few more donations that were coming and two or three more that Mettler will buy with some cash gifts, the final tally will be 110 bikes, she said. They’ll again be distributed by the Family Agency.
She’s always impressed, she said, by the generosity of community groups, businesses, individuals and families that virtually line up for the chance to help.
There’s one gentleman, according to Mettler, who’s made it a habit to give 10 bikes. And one family donates eight when each drive rolls around.
“Bikes are expensive, so if someone wants to donate but can’t afford to buy a bike, they don’t need to. They can get together with any group they belong to, pool their resources and buy one bike among them,” Mettler said, adding that cash donations are accepted, too.
The bikes can be any size as long as they’re new and fully assembled. Mettler noted that teenagers need full-size bikes, while three-wheelers may be best-suited for young children. Whatever the type that’s donated, the need always exists. A new list of kids comes up each year.
Mettler can be reached at 360-832-7600 for additional information.
“People can create a special Christmas for some kids,” she said.