Tampa man gives away 500 bicycles to needy kids - WFLA News Channel 8

Tampa man gives away 500 bicycles to needy kids

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TAMPA, FL (WFLA) - A Tampa businessman has been waiting all year for this day to spread his holiday cheer. 

Alex Cooks is the owner of Alex's Southern Style Barbecue, and throughout the year, he collects donations to buy bicycles for underprivileged children.

Cooks has been collecting donations at his restaurant  for 14 years.  He said as a child,  he never got a bike for Christmas.

Cooks added, "I was one of 10 growing and never got the new bicycle and once I started the business I got a little extra money so I went out and bought 10 bikes."

Over the years, his holiday bicycle giveaway has grown exponentially.

To date, he's given out more than 20,000 bikes.

"He's unbelievable," said one man as he picked up bikes.

In a parking lot next to a Wal-Mart on Gunn Highway, there were hundreds of brand new bikes lined neatly in rows.

There were hundreds of red bikes for boys and hundreds of pink bikes for the girls.

Every single one of these bicycles will soon become part of a precious memory for a lucky child in the Tampa Bay area.

Organizer Alex Cooks said, "The kid waking up on Christmas morning to a new bicycle, every kid will remember that day."

Local schools help him identify candidates, and this year, 550 lucky kids are getting a great gift.

Volunteer Kimberly McCutcheon picked up a few bikes to bring to a local school. She said, "The kids just love it. You should see their faces when they see the bikes."

This bicycle giveaway is going to make a lot of kids happy on Christmas morning. But for Cooks, this all started because of an unfulfilled childhood wish."The bikes themselves may not last forever, but the memories they create can last for a lifetime."

Cooks is still taking donations and will buy as many bikes as he can up until December 24th.

If you'd like to help out, you can drop off donations at his restaurant on West Village Drive in Tampa. 

CLICK HERE for address and phone to Alex's Southern BBQ

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