GREEN COVE SPRINGS, Fla. – A local organization is working to help make sure underprivileged children – have a merry Christmas.
The 37th Annual J.P. Hall Children’s Charities Christmas Party is just two weeks away.
Every year they hand out new and used toys, clothing and bikes to underprivileged children. It's on a first-come, first-served basis.
So far, 300 bikes have been collected this year with the hopes of reaching the goal of 500 bikes.
Richard Knoff is a retired Clay County deputy chief for Green Cove Springs, who has been repairing worn-down, broken bicycles for kids in need for more than 30 years.
“There’s so many kids that their parents can’t afford to get them a bicycle, we want to make a difference in those child’s lives,” Knoff said.
Knoff organizes hundreds of bikes that are donated every year to give to the kids at the J.P. Hall Children’s Charities Christmas Party. He fixes up bikes every week with other firefighters and volunteers from local churches, inside an old airport hangar, to make sure all the bikes that are donated are in safe riding condition.
The tradition started more than 30 years ago when Knoff was the fire chief. He wanted to give kids in the community an opportunity to ride.
“It’s really just the joy in their eyes, to be able to see that bike that’s going to be theirs, that they’re going to be riding around with their friends,” he said.
Last year, they gave out more than 500 bikes.
Knoff is hoping to exceed that this year, but still needs donations in hopes of brightening the holidays for even more kids. If you have any bikes sitting in your garage that haven’t been used in a long time and you want to donate them, you can drop them off at any Clay County Fire Station by Dec. 13.
The annual Christmas Party is on Saturday, Dec.15 from 8 a.m. to 12 at the Clay County Fairgrounds, 2497 State Road 16 West, Green Cove Springs.
For more information, visit their website here: https://jphallcharities.com/