LANSING, Mich. — Remember your first bike? The feeling of freedom, speed, and knowing you have something that was unmistakably yours is one that doesn’t soon fade. Nearly 30 children in the Lansing area will get to experience that excitement over the holidays thanks to the generosity of some McLaren Greater Lansing employees.
“For years the Environmental Services department adopted a family and one of the things we always did was make sure all the kids in the family would get a bike,” said Tony Yeo, McLaren Greater Lansing Manager of Environmental Services. “The staff came together and decided to expand that idea and give bikes to more kids.”
The donations are part of the McLaren Greater Lansing Foundation’s [mclaren.org] Simple Gift Holiday Tree program, which has been a staple of holiday giving at McLaren for the past 10 years. The yearly effort gives hospital employees an opportunity to help those in need during the holiday season. Each department or group of departments that participates in the program is issued a three-foot-tall tree that is decorated in a theme of their choosing. They also name an organization, or a family or individual in need as a designated beneficiary before contributing gifts to go with the tree.
“Last year we donated around 15 bikes, and this year our staff wanted to do even more,” said Yeo.
This year, the Environmental Services team lead an effort along with donations from other departments to purchase 27 bikes and a large number of helmets to donate to Toys for Tots.
“All kids should have a bike, especially at this time,” said Steve Doss, McLaren Greater Lansing environmental technician. “It’s very right this year, so I went all out trying to get more.”
“It means so much to our staff because they know they’re making a huge difference in a child’s life,” said Yeo. “A bike isn’t going to break, a child won’t outgrow it quickly, and they can get exercise, so it’s a gift that keeps on giving.”
Yeo credits the tireless work of his staff throughout the year to collect money for the bikes, and he says they are always willing to give. Some employees spent hours returning pop cans collected over the past year, while others worked to get discounts on new bikes and handled the logistics of pickup and drop-off for the donations.
“When things get tough, our team steps up and make things happen,” said Yeo. “They have huge hearts.”
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