What child does not dream of a bicycle under the tree on Christmas Day?
More than 100 local youths will get that dream, thanks to the generous folks of Old Bridge Village Yacht Club and many resident supporters.
Old Bridge Village Yacht Club's Toys for Tots drive again yielded truckloads of toys and bicycles for local children, already off for distribution.
Over 100 bicycles have been donated by the Old Bay Village Yacht Club.
"They are amazing," said Judy Bowler, who coordinates the Toys For Tots drive for Lee County. "They have the record number of bicycle donations in all of Lee County this year again."
It totaled 106.
Old Bridge Village volunteers include Dee Marks, Commodore Ken Hurley and Denise Kedian. Besides the 106 bicycles, a "warming tree" with hats, gloves, scarves and mittens will be donated to students at J. Colin English Elementary.
Besides raising funds for bicycles, the community also had a basket raffle, with everything from lunch on boats, to Italian food theme baskets and tickets to see music icon Tony Bennett at the Barbara B. Mann, over 60 great baskets in all.
Marks is in charge of the fund-raising efforts for Toys for Tots for the club, working closely with Hurley and Kedian, along with Lesley Howes.
Howes is the treasurer of the club.
""We also run yard sales that raise significant funds," she said of the overall campaign. Of the residents, she said, "They are just darn generous."
It all adds up, organizers said of their different efforts.
"We hope people in other communities will consider doing the same thing, having a drive in their communities. We'd love to see it," said Kedian. "This is our major fund-raiser every year, and the whole community participates."
The Salvation Army distributes the gifts.
"The toys go where they are really meant to go," she noted.
They will also be starting soon for next year with "Burgers for Bikes," cook-outs where people come out and eat and proceeds go to the bike fund.
In other Old Bridge Village charitable news, gift boxes are on there way to U.S. troops in Afghanistan, reaching the 2-ton mark.
According to Kedian, Old Bridge Village volunteers sending gift boxes to US troops in Afghanistan have reached a significant milestone. With their last mailing of 55 gift boxes, they have totaled more than two tons shipped.
Organized by residents Jan and Gene Boys, they hope to brighten Christmas for Troops far from home and family.
"Volunteers helped sort a veritable mountain of toiletries, snack items, hand warmers, Christmas cards and decorations, books, stationary items and other gifts. These eager volunteers filled 55 boxes with 734 pounds of goodies for the soldiers including gifts for them to send to their loved ones back home," she said.
"We shipped the boxes to five soldiers who will be sharing our packages with scores of others," said Jan Boys. "This was our 15th mailing since the fall of 2009 for a total of 334 boxes, 4204 pounds.
"That's over two tons of love and support for our troops!"
Their good deeds have not gone unacknowledged. The Boys family receives lots of thank you letters. They shared their latest from Army Chaplain Jason Hesseling. He wrote:
"Thank you for your generosity, and for thinking of us during the holiday season. I've got close to 600 soldiers that fall under my care spread out to 25 locations all over eastern Afghanistan. Some of their bases are pretty comfy and nice, others are pretty austere and dangerous.
"Again, I wanted to thank you for your support and especially your prayers. They are far more effective than you could know. There have been numerous times my guys have had close calls where they should have been killed or at least seriously hurt, but instead only walked away with scratches and bruises. I can't explain it all away with physics or science, but I can explain it with faith."