Donate a bike, make a child smile on Christmas

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Chester Jackson, also known as the bicycle man among children in Columbus, is asking the community to donate their unwanted or gently used bicycles to his shop again.

For the third year in a row, Jackson is giving away hundreds of bicycles to children who cannot afford them.

"I started this in 2012, and I fixed and gave away about 372 free bicycles to kids in Columbus," Jackson explained. "Last year, I gave away 332 bicycles. This year, I'm trying to give away 500 bicycles to kids across the Chattahoochee Valley. I have about 62 bicycles that I'm currently working on right now."

Jackson said it was his childhood dream to receive a bicycle on Christmas. He's now sharing his old dream with other children.

"I got a blue bicycle and it was good because it fit me," seven year old Carson Buie told News Leader 9. "I am going to get another bicycle because I'm going to return my old bike for it."

Carson's five-year-old sister Kennedy Buie is looking forward to exchanging the bike she received last year for a bigger one this year.

"I want a Hello Kitty one now," Kennedy said. "I felt happy because I can ride it fast."

Johnnie Wilson said she also took two bicycles from Jackson last year to give to her great grandchildren for Christmas.

"It was good because their mother couldn't afford to buy bicycles," Wilson explained. "So I brought my great granddaughter and great grandson to Jackson's shop. They liked the bicycles and I'll also be bringing them back this year to have them exchange them for bigger ones."

Wilson is grateful other kids are also able to receive free bicycles.

"When I see kids excited for Jackson's bicycles, it reminds me of myself when I was a kid," Wilson said. "When I received something for Christmas I was very excited. I was grateful and thankful. We need to love more and give more."

Jackson said the bicycles are for kids' ages four to fourteen. This year, he is especially in need for small bicycles fit for children four to seven year olds. Those interested can help Jackson by donating bicycles or bicycle parts to East Coast Body Shop located on 923-A Farr Road in Columbus.

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