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Volunteers build bikes for kids in need

Sweat drips from Jake Kalkbrenner as he works hard pumping the tires on children's bikes that he helped build at the United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania's annual Build-a-Bike event at Cranberry Township Community Park on Wednesday. The bikes will be given to kids in need throughout five counties, including Butler County. Cary Shaffer/Butler Eagle 06/15/22

CRANBERRY TWP. — On a hot Wednesday morning, 50 volunteers returned to Jaycees Shelter at Cranberry Township Community Park to lend some hands-on help to United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania’s Build-a-Bike project.

Volunteers from a number of partnering local companies and organizations worked together in teams to put together children’s bicycles from kits. The bikes will be distributed to the Butler YMCA’s child care program and Butler Area School District for those in need.

The program as a whole, spanning 3 days across Allegheny, Butler and Westmoreland Counties, will put together 300 bikes. The Butler branch assembled 100 of those bikes Wednesday morning, as volunteers from MSA, Westinghouse, XTO Energy, Mars Bank, and NexTier Bank teamed up.

“We look through our partner list and invite companies to participate as part of their volunteer engagement with employees,” said Amy Franz, regional vice president of United Way of Southwestern PA.

The bikes are 20-inch children's bikes, and are a good fit for elementary school students, Franz said.

“This is a good partnership—Huffy (the bike manufacturer) has a partnership where we can buy the bikes directly from them,” she said. “Each bike will come with a helmet and a lock, so that they’re able to ride safely.”

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