SNOHOMISH COUNTY, Wash. - A small project started by a Snohomish County woman to help foster children has blossomed into an annual event and has benefited hundreds of kids.
The garage of Shannon Anderson’s home in Snohomish is full of bike. Some of them would be considered junk but all of them are new to the children who get them.
Anderson adopted two children after serving as their foster mother. She is currently fostering a 6-month-old baby, her 35th foster child, and is raising her own two kids.
“They come with just a small bag of items or just the clothes on their backs. Bikes just become sort of a luxury,” Anderson said.
She knew other foster families were in the same situation and since she did not have any cash, she turned to her network on Facebook. In 2015, she posted on a page for Mill Creek Free Gifting Community – a Buy Zero group where people post requests for goods and no money is exchanged.
She hoped for 10 bikes, and received 56. In 2018, she received 132 bikes.
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Sue Lewis fostered 400 children over 35 years and now has custody of her 8-year-old granddaughter. She’s received four bikes over the last four years.
“For my 17-year-old, her bike is her way to work,” said Lewis.
“When the bike drive came along, she (Anderson) said, “I’ve got this bike for you,’ and she brought me another one to replace it and my granddaughter still rides that bike. They get to be normal. They get to ride their bike in the neighborhood.”
Many of the bikes are in pretty good shape, but others need some work. On May 26, volunteers will come to Anderson’s home to clean up the bikes and make repairs., such as replacing handle grips and seats.
Bicycle centers in Everett provided seats and handle grips at wholesale cost while Budget Blinds donated helmets. For Anderson, the best gift of all is the smiles and even tears from the children who receive the bikes. For some, it’s their first one.
Anderson expects at least 100 kids to come to the drive on Memorial Day. “It also provides an outlet for people who say, ‘I can’t foster. I can’t do what you’re doing and have an extra child in my home.’ It gives them a great way to say, ‘I am helping,” Anderson said.
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