TEMPERANCE -- A group of youngsters here is on a mission to recycle. It has collected dozens of donated bicycles members plan to refurbish and distribute free to people in need.
The youngsters, who are 9 to 14, are from the St. Vincent de Paul Society Junior Youth Group at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church. They're in the process of fixing up about 95 bicycles before scheduling a distribution at the church later this month.
One of the youngsters, Kennedy Volpi, 12, said the effort is something the children came up with on their own as a public service project.
"We wanted to do something for people. We realized the need was there. Bicycles are good for transportation and exercise, and there are people in the community who need them and don't have the money to buy one," Kennedy explained.
The collection took place on June 26 at the church and exceeded expectations. That may be because the kids, like any smart fund-raisers, promoted their cause beforehand. They put a notice in the church bulletin and on the marquee.
"We also had kids with signs standing on the curb," said Josie Robinson, 12. The signs read, "Donate bikes" and "Bikes here." Josie said most of the bikes are in decent shape but some are missing seats or have broken chains.
Not to worry, said Maddie Scally, 13. "We're going to do all the repairs," she said confidently.
Which made her father, Howie Scally, chuckle. He has the tools, and he doubted that Maddie had ever held a wrench. He said, however, that he would be happy to show her what needed to be done. Maddie's mother, Jenn Scally, said the children stood to benefit as much from the project as the recipients of the bikes would.
"Our purpose here is to teach the kids that it's important to do service projects and do good for the community," Mrs. Scally said.
She said the junior youth group was formed in February. Previous projects involved collecting candy for Easter baskets distributed to a Monroe homeless shelter and an East Toledo church and making fleece blankets sent to a hospital in South America that was sending newborns home wrapped in newspaper.
A future project will be collecting toiletries for the Salvation Army of Monroe County, which distributes them to people in need.