PLAINFIELD, NJ - With 152 bicycles neatly organized in her parking lot, Donna Albanese-DeMair opened her Plainfield Dairy Queen store and welcomed families who arrived as early as 7:30 a.m. to receive a free bicycle.

Albanese said the program began eight years ago after speaking with a customer who needed ice cream for a children’s event, as well as seven bicycles. Since then, the giveaway has grown each year, and is now conducted four times a year.

Several organizations are now involved, including the Salvation Army, Union County Freeholders, AAA North East, Rutgers and others who provide safety information, new helmets and other needed supplies for the event.  No bike is given away without a helmet, and volunteers were on hand to ensure that they fit correctly and the right size bike was selected.

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Safe Routes to School, a Plainfield organization, set up an obstacle course in the parking lot and representatives provided safety information for all bicycle riders. Bikes of all sizes, for both adults and children, were available.

As an added bonus, families were treated to free samples of coffee, hot chocolate and baked goods from The Coffee Box, a locally owned business located next door.

The next giveaway will take place in June or July 2017. If you have a bike to donate, contact Donna Albanese at Dairy Queen, located at 1367 South Avenue in Plainfield.