Contributed by Bailey McNamara
Recycle a bicycle
PV junior holds bike drive for less fortunate children
December 19, 2018
To celebrate the holiday season, Pascack Valley junior Bailey McNamara decided that she wanted to give back to the less fortunate by collecting bikes to give out to people in New York City, with the help of her older brother, Kirk McNamara, and her aunt, Peggy Lundquist.
“This year, we decided that we specifically wanted to help children, eventually brainstorming the idea of a bike drive,” Bailey said. “We hung flyers in efforts to get donations, made arrangements to pick the bikes up, and lugged all the bikes back to our house.”
After collecting 27 donated bikes, Bailey sent emails out to public schools in Harlem, New York, and heard back from Public School Precinct 46.
McNamara and her brother scheduled to drop the bikes that they had collected off to the school on Dec. 12. The principal of P.S. 46 told Bailey that the bikes would be handed out on the last day before winter break and that the kids were “ ecstatic” to be receiving the bikes.
The bikes have not been handed out yet so Bailey hasn’t been able to see any pictures of the student’s reactions, but in past years she said the response she received was “priceless.”
The drive ended on Dec. 12, but the McNamaras plan on hosting more bike drives and other charitable events in the future.
When Bailey was asked if she willing to talk about her bike drive for this article, at first she was very hesitant because she didn’t want to receive any credit for the good deeds that she does, but after some contemplation, she agreed because she believed it could help gain publicity for next year’s bike drive.
McNamara said that often times all of the attention is focused on the people who organize such drives, but in reality, there are many people behind the scenes who make the event possible.
“I want to say thank you to the generous community members who donated and all the stores that allowed us to hang signs in their storefronts for making the children’s holiday season cheerier,” Bailey said.
In past years, Bailey and Kirk made care packages stuffed with sandwiches, snacks, water, and other basic necessities, and drove around the city looking for people in need of those items.
McNamara said that one year when they went into the city on Christmas Eve to hand out sandwiches and winter clothing, they came across a mother walking with her four children on the sidewalk.
“I asked the younger of the two girls if she would like the hat I was wearing. Her reply made my eyes water. [She said], ‘I already have a hat, but my sister doesn’t.’ It’s crazy to think about this,” Bailey said. “I have five hats, and most people including myself would have just been like, ‘Oh, it’s cute, I’ll take it,’ but no, this little girl, even at age three, knew what it meant to be selfless.”
Bailey said that the bike drive and handing out sandwiches has strengthened the relationship between her and Kirk, despite the seven-year age gap.
“He’s the most selfless person I know. He’s probably going to kill me if or when he finds out I’ve given him any credit for the drive because that’s just the type of person he is.” Bailey said. “[My aunt, brother and I] all believe that you should never do something with the intentions of being rewarded or thanked, it should all be done from the goodness of your heart.”