photos by Sam Malkowski
It was a bright and shining day, the perfect day to give something back to some well deserving kids.
To see more photos from the event, click here!
McDonald's on 3507 Frankiln Street, Michigan City was filled with smiling children and smiling adults as they helped to assemble 54 bicycles for 54 individual children.
“The purpose of this event is to thank the community for 54 years of business and support,” said McDonald's Co-Owner Sam Lubeznik. “What better way is there than to support 54 deserving children from the community?”
The 54 children were chosen with help and assistance from Director of Juvenile Court Services of La Porte County Circuit Chip Cotman and Michigan City Police Department Detective Marty Corley, who were able to reach out and find deserving children to receive the bikes. The reason the number of children chosen was set at 54 in honor of the McDonald's 54 years of serving the community.
Children teamed up with both volunteers and Michigan City Police Officers who helped the children assemble the bikes while also providing them protective helmets, locks bike locks and free safety lessons on bike safety.
“This is the best part of allowing us to serve the community,” said Michigan City Police Chief Mark Swistek. “Sometimes we have to go into situations where people are not always happy to see us due to the unpleasantness of some situations, but here we actually get to do the public servant part and its great to see the positive reactions.”
The program was made possible by McDonald's distributor Golden State Food and their build a bike program who were very excited to hear Lubeznik's idea to donate 54 bikes to children, and members from the Lubeznik family who were eager to give back to the community.
“I can't speak highly enough of Sam and his family,” said Cotman. “They do so much for the community, more than anyone even knows about that's just so great.”
For Lubeznik, these kinds of events that reach out and help members of the community is only the beginning as he is planning on doing several more events throughout the year.
“Without our customers and this community, we simply wouldn't have a livelihood so we really believe that the more we partner with them, the more successful we will make the community around us and the more successful we can be,” said Lubeznik. “It also has the added benefit of being just a great thing to do.”
“Events like these are great partnerships between the citizens and Michigan City. It's such a great way to connect with both the kids and the community,” said Swistek.
At the end of each bike assembled, smiling children could be seen excitedly riding their bike around, laughing and enjoying the sense of excitement and freedom that only two wheels and a handlebar can bring to a young child.
“I love seeing the smiles on their faces,” says Cotman. “When we started and I talked to the kids I found out that some of them did not have bikes, a few did and one even told me that he only had a bike meant for smaller children. Each child was polite and engaged, they were truly happy and thankful.”
In the end, Lubeznik could sum up the event in the best way.
”I have the greatest job in the world,” said Lubeznik. “How do you have a better day than putting smiles on kids faces?”