A free bike giveaway organized by Sixteenth Street Community Health Centers drew a huge, grateful crowd
Hundreds gathered Saturday to learn about healthy living and get a free bike at Kosciuszko Park in an event sponsored by Sixteenth Street Community Health Centers.
Sixteenth Street planned to give away 500 bikes during the three-hour event but exhausted its supply in just about an hour.
“Bike Day is what Sixteenth Street is all about – helping individuals and families in our community live healthy to prevent disease is at the core of our mission,” said Dr. Julie Schuller, Sixteenth Street’s president and CEO.
More: Community health centers made it through worst of the coronavirus crisis.
Schuller arrived at 9:30 a.m. to set up and said there was already a "very long" line of people waiting for their free bikes. The event was scheduled to begin at 11 a.m.
A few minutes after noon, volunteers in pink shirts announced there were only 20 bikes left. That news was met with audible groans from the sizeable crowd. Just a few minutes later, volunteers announced that all the bikes were gone.
Sarath Puvvadi and his family arrived at 10 a.m. for the free bikes and were some of the last people to get them.
His daughter, Teekshita Puvvadi, 8, was excited to ride her new pink and purple bike.
"The design — it looks so good," she said as she pointed at the flowers and moons on her new bike.
People also had the opportunity to have their bikes serviced for free by members of DreamBikes staff who added air to tires and checked brakes and wheels.
While some families couldn't get bikes, many were able to get free helmets, bike locks, T-shirts and bags with information on healthy living. A group of people gathered to dance to Zumba near the stage.
Mayor Johnson Cavalier, who attended the event, proclaimed June 18 as Sixteenth Street Bike Day for the city of Milwaukee.
"I think for me, one of the things I love is seeing the faces of the kids that have received a bike," Schuller said. "They walk down the aisles and they're able to choose a bike and then their faces light up with excitement."
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This article originally appeared on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Free bike giveaway in Milwaukee draws huge crowd for Sixteenth Street