TUPELO • The Tupelo Career-Technical Center’s annual “Sharing at Christmas” community service project will make this holiday season brighter by providing free bicycles for local families.

Collision Repair instructor Derek Bradley said this is the third year his classes have participated in the project which serves as a way to “connect the students with the community.”

“People think you’ve got to have money to help somebody out but that’s not the case,” Bradley said. “I just want to teach my students that you can use your hands and donations from the community and still give a great Christmas gift.”

This year, 34 students across three classes are involved. Having students work on the project gets them personally invested in work that goes towards helping the community, Bradley said.

Students make sure the bikes are mechanically sound – repairing brakes, chains and tires and repainting bikes that need it.

Although students spend most of the school year learning how to repair cars, Bradley said his students practice the same fundamentals while working on bikes and it’s for a good cause.

Marcus Calvert, a 16-year-old junior, said “there’s always somebody that’s needy” and he likes that the work he’s adoing will help local kids.

“Everything we do, I know is going to a good cause and I know that people we’re doing this stuff for will be appreciative for it,” Calvert said.

In addition to bikes, the Collision Repair Technology class also accepts and repairs tricycles, scooters, kids’ ride-on toy cars and “anything with wheels,” Bradley said.

Donated bikes are welcome throughout the year, so donations for next year’s “Sharing at Christmas” project are already being accepted.

The pick-up day for families receiving bikes will be Friday, Dec. 20.

Anyone who would like to donate or receive a bike this Christmas can reach Bradley by calling the Tupelo Career-Technical Center at 662-841-8990.

blake.alsup@journalinc.com

Twitter: @AlsupTheWriter

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