KINGSTON–It was Tafari Saunders’ 13th birthday two days ago, but one of his best presents came on Thursday.
The M. Clifford Miller Middle School student was among 50 children who received a free Kent Razor bicycle and helmet, compliments of Oskar Blues Brewery and the New Paltz-based Craft Beer Guild Distributing of New York.
Oskar Blues’ CAN’d Aid Foundation, its so-called “do-goodery arm,” paired up with the Ulster County company to do something special for children who attend the Boys and Girls Clubs of Ulster County.
For every case of beer sold during the second quarter of this year, Craft Beer Guild Distributing donated $1 to the foundation, according to Kimberly Rejniak, the general manager.
That was enough to purchase 50 bikes and helmets, totaling about $5,000.
On Wednesday, employees from every department assembled the bikes outside the warehouse at 12 South Putt Corners Road, she said.
“We had a blast. It was great. We all live in the Hudson Valley, and we’re just really excited to partner with organizations from Westchester County to the Canadian border.
“The kids seemed super happy, and it was awesome. Our aim was to do something that really benefited others,” she said.
The children lined up with their parents for the giveaway across the street from the Boys and Girls Club on Greenkill Avenue.
Before they got their bikes, members of the Kingston Police Department conducted a safety presentation.
Many of the children couldn’t wait to try out the shiny, sturdy bikes on the nearby sidewalks.
Saunders said while he owned a bike, it was “messed up,” so he was glad to get one.
“I think it’s really cool how they give these bikes to the kids. It makes them happy. It makes me happy,” he said, adjusting his helmet and trying out the bike–both a perfect fit.
Sarah Leavitt, director of operations at the Colorado-based CAN’d Aid Foundation, said Oskar Blues Brewery likes to “dig in” and give back to communities where its employees work.
“Everyone remembers the first bicycle they got as a kid and the sense of freedom that comes with it. It’s a fun gift to give a kid and see where they take it,” she said.
Joe Fay, the executive director of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Ulster County, said the children were ecstatic.
“You can see it on their faces right now. Most of these kids don’t have a bike or haven’t had a bike. Some of them don’t even know how to ride yet, and to get a new one is pretty exciting,” he said.
In the past year, the CAN’d Aid Foundation has donated bikes to 976 children from low-income families in 10 states throughout the United States.