Caring for our brothers and sisters

root - Posted on 24 March 2003

Annual Bike Give-Away for children of Prisoners is held in Oakland

by Rick M./PoorNewsNetwork Community Journalist

It was a windy Saturday morning in Oakland, I was here to cover a story worthy of as much coverage as it could get. Former prisoners and community activists, aware of the devastating effects that incarceration has on the African American community, have organized a bike give-away that was held on Saturday, December 14 at 11:00 A.M. at Park Chapel, A.M.E Church. This annual gift give-away, organized by Timers Organization, focuses on the particular needs of children who celebrate the holidays away from their parents, children whose needs often go unmet.

It is a beautiful church. The high ceilings and stain glass windows. This church was different from the ones I had gone to as a child. The service area is upstairs, not directly in front, as you would enter most churches. After climbing the lengthy red carpeted chairs you truly entered an area of god's kingdom. The large cross adorning the front of the church with a large sky blue circle stating god is love, and all those brand new bikes!

I felt as much of a child as any kid in that church. The display of bikes and toys was reminiscent of any Macys display window. It truly was a magnificent sight to see all of these bike and toys that were either purchased from donations or handle built by some of the many volunteers. As Robert Moody had stated " caring for other brothers and sisters", this was a beautiful sight for me to see.

The Reverend Donna Allen heads the Parks Chapel. Who reminded the children and parents of the many programs and services offered here, including a wonderful after school program offered to youth in 1st through 8th grades called homework-helpers. This program provides a place for youth to gather as well as provides a light snack for participants and study time with homework from 4 to 6 P.M. Monday through Thursdays and will even pick-up the children.

Before the bikes were given out the local church youth gave a small but well orchestrated
Presentation on bike safety for the younger children. I was pleased to see this important bit of information given to these little people but more than that was it was presented by their own peers which I think re-enforces the safety message better than an adult telling you. (This is part of the "cool " factor).

After much controlled restraint by the children it begins, Ticket # 419256! The commentator yells out. "DO I HAVE A WINNER!" … yes he does have a winner, today they were all winners. Thanks to a Timers organization and Legal Services for Prisoners with Children, caring for other brothers and sisters.


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