NewsPositively Hampton Roads


Bikes given away to Norfolk & Virginia Beach kids in need

'Make A Kid Smile For Christmas' bike drive
 Imani and she is in kindergarten at camp Allen
Posted at 4:14 PM, Dec 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-15 17:02:38-05

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. - The organizations that make up the Port of Virginia joined forces to hold their eighth annual Make A Kid Smile For Christmas bike drive on Wednesday, December 15.

The International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA), Virginia International Terminals, and the Hampton Roads Shipping Association all contributed to the nearly $19,000 needed to buy the 154 bicycles and helmets for underprivileged children.

“You get to see real appreciation, you get to see a child that had no idea that they woke up this morning that they’re going to get a brand new bike and helmet," Steve Mobley with the ILA said.

Sewells Point, Camp Allen Elementary, and Larchmont Elementary, all in Norfolk, received bikes Wednesday. In Virginia Beach, Newtown Elementary, Bettie F. Williams Elementary and Diamond Springs Elementary received the surprise as well.

Ann Marie Gunter, assistant principal at Camp Allen, said this is the perfect time of year for such a selfless act. At her school, 25 students from grades pre-k to fifth grade got new bicycles.

“We try to teach children to think outside of themselves, but there’s no better way to teach that than the community demonstrating that," Gunter said. "I think for them this is not just the receiving of a tangible physical gift but also the greater gift of what it means to do for somebody else."

Gunter said she wanted to thank the organizations of the Port of Virginia for donating. Of notable mention are Thomas Little, the ILA Vice President, ILA Locals 970, 1248, 1624, 1970, and 1973, Roger Geisinger with the Hampton Shipping Association and Joe Ruddy and Kyle Bassham with Virginia International Terminals.