Hauler Waste Connections raised $14,950 from employees in Austin, Texas, which was enough to buy 266 bikes and helmets for needy children.
It was a program that the company’s predecessor, Progressive Waste, had annually held in the market. Employees donated money as well their time to assemble and deliver the bikes.
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“We were thinking maybe 50, but 266!” said Jimmy Esparza, the Pflugerville division manager. Some employees gave $5 or $10; some gave $100, he said. Those who couldn’t afford to give helped assemble the bikes. “The upcoming year, I expect us to be giving even more,” he said.
On Dec. 10, Waste Connections employees and their family members came to the office off FM 812 and had an assembly line going. Some were in charge of stripping all the packaging from the bikes. Others assembled the bikes using tools from the Waste Connections garage or tools they brought with them. Employees’ kids also worked together to build the bikes. All the bikes went through a quality control station. Another set of employees tagged each bike with whom it was for and made sure each bike had a helmet.
Afterward employees and their families shared holiday food together.
“You can see it brought a lot of joy,” Austin district manager Tom Evenhouse said.
During the next week, employees delivered bikes to the SaintLouise House; Blue Santa in the cities of Pflugerville, Lago Vista, Taylor, Thorndale, Rockdale, Bastrop and Uhland; Boys & Girls Club of South Central Texas, Agapé Christian Ministries; and the River City Youth Foundation.
On Dec. 16, Shannon pulled his truck with a trailer filled with the Noheli family’s bikes. One by one he unloaded the bikes and placed them in each kid’s hands. “It’s exciting,” 16-year-old Denise Tuyishime said. “It’s good. Now, when I have time, I can go outside and ride the bike.”