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      Syracuse bike giveaway calling for donations

      The Central New York Family Bike Giveaway is geared up to take donations. Old bikes are what most people contribute to the effort, now in its 16th year, but the organizer says they'll also welcome money contributions, to pay for parts and supplies, as well as bicycle helmets. And the need is great: so far they've collected 400 bicycles at the State Fair Dairy Barn. Last year, they gave away 2800 to needy families, most from Syracuse's West Side. 'This will be the most significant gift in their Christmas lineup,' says giveaway organizer Jan Maloff.

      The expect to spend $10- to $12-thousand dollars to buy parts and for the bike helmets they give out, along with each bicycle. Maloff says they're also looking for volunteers to help with the bike sorting and fixups.Among those who've already donated, Ray Pearson from Onondaga Hill. "We have an empty nest," he told us. "Our children are grown up, and we have grandchildren. We offered the bikes to them, and they didn't want them, so we're cleaning garages and barns out." Ray and his wife donated four old bikes. 'It's good to know they're going for a good purpose," he told us. "Those are older bikes, none newer than 20 to 25 years old, otherwise we would have thrown them out for junk."

      How many bikes will be given away this year? "It'll all depend what our availability is, to buy parts and helmets," says Maloff.The collection center is open 10am to 7pm, seven days a week at the Fair Dairy Barn, until December 23rd. This year'sgiveaway will be at the Oncenter on Christmas Eve (It's been moved from Fowler High School because of the construction there.)

      If you'd like to make a money contribution:Central New York Family Bike Giveawayc/o Jan Maloff319 Barrington RoadSyracuse NY 13214

      To volunteer: Call Dewitt Memorial Funeral Home in Syracuse at 446-7570.