LANCASTER – Christmas came early for several youngsters Wednesday, when Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris visited several of the City’s Neighborhood Impact Homes with shiny new bicycles in tote.
“Do you believe I’m Santa Claus?” Parris asked a group of youngsters at the Trend Neighborhood Impact Home.
Though skeptical at first, young minds were changed once Parris gave away the first bicycle.
“I believe you’re Santa Claus!” one young boy shouted.
The Mayor, members of City Council, Lancaster Sheriff’s deputies, and volunteers caravanned to the City’s six Neighborhood Impact Homes.
Five randomly selected children at each home were presented with a bicycle from Parris as an early Christmas surprise.
Then the Mayor and company helped the families assemble the bicycles.
“I didn’t want this to be considered a hand out,” Parris said. “I wanted the families, friends and neighbors here to pour their love and elbow grease into these gifts for the children. This is why we are all here working together as a community.”
Families were notified ahead of time about winning the drawing, but the children didn’t have a clue about what was going to happen.
Ten-year-old Nathaly Morano cupped her hands over her face when her name was called, as her friends squealed with excitement.
“I felt very excited and happy,” said Morano. “I would like to say thank you very much to the mayor for giving me this bike.”
Local retailers Bicycle Johns and Wal-Mart offered deals on the bicycles to help make the contribution possible. Wal-Mart also provided the helmets required for the children’s safety.
“This effort was truly the result of many arms in our community coming together to give these neighborhoods a great big hug,” said Parris. “We all have this deep desire to bring joy to others and it is a tremendous experience when we all pitch in to do something extra special for our City and its citizens.”