By Susan Hoffman, special to Corona del Mar Today
Bicycle Santa Trish Hurley wanted to give her grandkids a hands-on experience about charitable giving. So, in keeping with her holiday bicycle donation tradition, she toted all eight of them along to Walmart so they could participate rather than hear about it afterward.
In the past, it has just been two Santas — Hurley of Balboa Island and Sean Canova of Costa Mesa — who have been doing the shopping and delivery of the bikes. This year with the addition of several elves, it would be a different experience.
On a recent Friday afternoon Hurley, along with the grandkids and their parents, met at Tzone Fitness OC in Costa Mesa where Hurley has been a long time client of Canova’s. From there they caravanned, including pulling two trailers, to the Irvine Walmart.
Canova, the master organizer, immediately slid into his sidewalk superintendent role and took control of the situation. With a makeshift cardboard clipboard in one hand, and finger pointing gestures with the other, he soon found himself directing traffic between the Walmart staff and the unleashed elves.
There was much to be done, beginning with the selection of helmets and locks for the 60 bikes that would be evenly distributed among boys and girls from tots to teens. The bikes and gear would be loaded into the two trucks, with trailers and delivered to the Orangewood Foundation.
“This is what Christmas is all about for me,” Hurley said. “It feels good to bring joy of Christmas with everything going on in the world.”
Both Canova and Hurley both have that strong affection for bikes in common.
“I was stoked to get my big brother’s bike, because it was something I could use for along time,” Canova said.
“Bikes are great for exercise, and transportation and it’s good to start kids out early with an outdoor activity,” Hurley said.
Hurley has been giving bikes to underprivileged children for ten years now, but, it was Corona del Mar resident Mary Ann Soden who brought the idea a few years ago of “connecting caring individuals with children in need” through the Orangewood Foundation’s community program, Hurley said.
Hurley rallied family members, friends and even her chiropractor to contribute to the cause this year for a toal of 60 bikes, up from last year’s 40.
Hurley wants to see the idea grow and maybe even spread to bike clubs and gyms.
“Just think if every gym in the U.S. bought just one bike,” she said.
Click here to read about last year’s collection.