While Christmas 2019 may be a distant memory for most, the folks at the City of Lincolnton’s Wastewater Treatment Plant still have Christmas forefront on their minds. Last year, they raised enough money to purchase 23 bicycles, 21 of which went to Lincolnton Toys for Tots. The employees, present and a few retirees, as well as members of the city’s human resources department set aside a small portion of paychecks every week to purchase these bicycles. The group has been raising money to purchase bikes for the less fortunate for 15 years now.
“We take about a dollar per paycheck and put it in a jar,” Donald Burkey, the superintendent for the Wastewater Treatment Plant said. “On Black Friday, we take the money and go and buy the bikes at Walmart then we bring them back and assemble them. It’s just a small way to give back but we take a lot of pride in it. Christmas time is very special for us – when I was a kid, Christmas was always very exciting. You look forward to waking up on Christmas day and getting a present. I was fortunate enough to experience that all my life and I think it’s important for kids today to have the same opportunity. I know it’s very hard for people in these times for it to always happen.”
The group started out doing angel trees and then the next year, they helped out an entire family through a local school. The following year, they had trouble finding an angel tree, so they started donating through Toys for Tots. This organization tends to get a lot of toys for younger children, Burkey said and the older ones are sometimes left out. Bikes were a good option for these children.
The goal this year is 25 bikes and the co-workers at the City of Lincolnton Wastewater Treatment Plant want to challenge other city or county departments, businesses and individuals to match their goal.
“We have a very giving crew here and I’m proud of them,” Burkey said.
Other organizations which were large Toys for Tots donors for 2019 include the Lincoln County Senior Services Center and Abernethy Dodge which collected more than 20 bikes for the program. Lincoln Charter School collected the most toys from all the local schools bringing in eight collection boxes full of toys.