Variety donates 70 bicycles to deserving Waterloo students - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Variety donates 70 bicycles to deserving Waterloo students

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -

Dozens of Eastern Iowa children are starting their summer off on two wheels -- thanks to generous donations from a local organization. Saturday morning, volunteers from Variety - The Children's Charity of Iowa distributed 70 new bicycles to children in Waterloo.

For eight-year-old Tatyana Green, Saturday was a milestone.

"I haven't had a bike yet. I've been riding on my friends a lot," she said.

It's a big day for the entire family. Her sisters, Tyana and Kyana, are getting matching pink bikes. With three more young kids in tow, mom Chana Perry can't say enough how grateful she is for the help.

"We really do appreciate it. It's a blessing because I couldn't have afforded six bikes. It's an honor. All of my kids are getting bikes this year," Perry said.

This year, Variety partnered with Irving Elementary, a school in which nine out of ten kids qualify for free or reduced meals.

"Once I heard about it, it was a no-brainer. We had to go for it," said principal Steve Thune. "The teachers did a great job figuring out which kids needed a bike, and which ones didn't. We had them write a short story about what they would do with a new bike."

Student athletes from the University of Northern Iowa helped the kids fit their helmet and find their bike.

"It's really good to see their faces. Their faces light up when they see the bike and know that it's theirs and they own it. I think it really gives them a sense of pride and ownership," said UNI football player Sam Tim.

After a pledge to ride safe, Perry's kids were ready to hit the sidewalk. It may be just a bike to some. But it's a gift this family will remember.

"It means a lot to us. We really do appreciate it," Perry added.

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