Every holiday season, the Chula Vista Rotary Club becomes Santa's Workshop when they assemble bikes for foster families.
In 1988 former club presidents Manny Adler and John Miller had an idea to start a bike drive. With no money and no budget, they asked every club member for a couple dollars each and assembled 25 bikes.
At the time the club would put together the bikes in Adler’s place of business, the Royal Carpet Warehouse. But soon enough the number of volunteers and bikes filled the building and they relocated to the Eastlake Design District.
This year’s 33rd annual Chula Vista Rotary Club Bike Drive plans to distribute 200 bikes to the Salvation Army, the South Bay YMCA, the Ronald McDonald House, South Bay Community Services Center and the Kiwanis Christmas with Santa.
“Generally recipients would never be fortunate enough to have a bike,” said Chula Vista Rotary Club President Bradley Wilson. “It’s just wonderful to see the looks on their (kids) faces. It’s a great pick-me-up because kids love bikes.”
Funding for the bikes is provided by a grant from County Supervisor Greg Cox, the Chula Vista Rotary Club Foundation and the Eastlake Walmart.
Members of the club, Boy Scouts and Kiwanis members put together the bikes within a few hours and distribute them on Dec. 14.
Since 2007, Adler’s son Marty Adler has been the bike project chairman and has carried on his father’s tradition.
“What motivates me is helping as many kids as possible,” he said. “It’s just a lot of fun to see the smiles on these kids’ faces.”
Adler and co-chairman Mark Scott will coordinate this year’s distribution.
“We want them to appreciate the bike and have fun with it,” said Wilson. “It’s a great project and example of people coming together to do something great. The project has gotten bigger and better every year.”