Waking up on Christmas morning to a new bicycle can be a fond memory for any child. However, some children have never owned or even ridden one before.
After a one-year hiatus, Bikes for Angels returns this holiday season. Since 2007, thousands of local children have received bicycles donated by the organization.
B4A Founders Rick and Dee Curlee originally decided to disband the organization last year due to health problems. After discussing it with their family and friends, they decided to keep it going.
“Rick and I both had such heavy hearts about retiring Bikes for Angels,” Dee Curlee said. “We didn’t know that so many people shared the same passion as our family did about Bikes for Angels. We have had so many to offer help in any way we needed.
“After so many conversations with family, it was obvious that Bikes for Angels needed to carry on. Bikes for Angels touched the hearts of so many who helped deliver, build bicycles, load and unload trailers, spend hours with us during the day purchasing and then helping us unload at night. Who knew that our passion was felt by so many?”
The year before creating the organization, Rick Curlee said he was working as a teacher for Mansfield ISD when his principal asked if he could help deliver angel tree gifts since he had a red pickup. He agreed.
Since they hadn’t picked out an angel yet, the couple decided to go to Walmart and buy three different size bikes to give to children in need while they delivered the gifts.
His school adopted five families for the holidays that year. At four of the families, they already had bikes.
When they got to the fifth family, the bicycles they purchased fit the children perfectly, and the grandmother asked how they knew that was what they needed.
He said he didn’t know why he and his wife felt compelled to purchase the bikes or how they were the perfect fit for the family, but he knew they needed to share the “joy of giving” with their students during the next holiday season.
They hope to donate as many bicycles as they have in the past, Dee Curlee said. They have delivered bicycles to schools in Burleson, Godley and Joshua, as well as Cleburne ISD’s Wheat Middle School.
“Some of the most excited faces we have seen in our 12 years of doing this is the kids that are fundraising to help purchase a bike for a child in need,” she said. “These kids are learning the joy of giving without expecting anything in return.”
Before her husband retired, she said one of his students handed him a $200 donation.
“He questioned the amount he was donating and the student informed him that he had worked during the summer to be able to donate it to Bikes for Angels,” she said. “He said ‘The first year you started this. I got a new bike, and it’s my turn now.’ We have had so many past students who have graduated contact us and to this day still part of Bikes for Angels.”
Joshua ISD Superintendent Fran Marek said she’s glad the organization is returning for their students and community.
“I think this is very beneficial for two reasons: it promotes a healthy lifestyle while also keeping the spirit of Christmas alive for them,” Marek said.
For information, visit bikesforangels.org.