On Wednesday, July 24, Plainfield Dairy Queen, Salvation Army, PMUA and other city agencies joined together for the second year to give out 138 bikes to disadvantaged Plainfield families.
The Salvation Army paired up the children by age to make sure each child received an appropriate sized bike. “Hopefully every kid walks away with a bike of their liking,” said Major Verna LaSalle of the Salvation Army. Rich DeMair, a member of the Albanese family and husband of Donna Albanese-DeMair, owner of the Plainfield Dairy Queen, collected and restored the bikes, fixing them up to look brand new with the assistance of his brother Don.
Salvation Army Board Chair, Dr. Gayle Carric said “We could not have done this today without all of our partners and the manpower and dedication of the PMUA.” Beginning at 7:15 a.m., PMUA employees arrived at Plainfield Dairy Queen with several trucks to load the bikes and transport them to the Salvation Army. Once arriving, PMUA staff unloaded the bikes and lined them up for the children to see. Each child received a helmet free of charge from the Children’s Specialized Hospital of Mountainside. Before selecting a bike, the children were properly fitted for the safety head gear and taught how to adjust the size for a correct fit.
Ice cream donated from Dairy Queen accompanied a lunch provided by The Salvation Army for all the families. As the DJ played, children road their new bikes up and down the street which was blocked off by the Plainfield Police Department. Plainfield Police also supported the event by discussing safety and registering each bike. “This collaborative event made many children very happy,” said Trevor Gravesande, PMUA Recycle Coordinator.