Bike in a Box provides big gift to Tucson kids in need

Posted: Updated:

TUCSON, Ariz. -- Hundreds of Tucson kids in need kicked-off Christmas early Sunday with a brand new bike.

The Bike in a Box event is about more than presents, it's about bringing families together.

Santa Claus hitched a ride with Tucson firefighters Sunday, to make a special delivery at Saint Augustine Cathedral.

"Well, go back to when we were kids and certainly the one thing every child wants is a bicycle," said Jesse Lugo.

Jesse Lugo with Lugo charities and some volunteer biker buddies gave out five hundred bikes to families struggling to put presents under the tree this year.

"There are many families in need, many families that are in these hard economic times," said Lugo.

Desiree, 6, was one of the first kids to get fitted with a brand new helmet and walk away with a bike in a box.

"I think she started back in August, started talking about she wanted a bike," said Cesar Barcenas.

Desiree's dad, Cesar, says a free gift for his little girl is a big relief.

"It's actually getting very hard lately.  Being laid off from a previous job, dealing with what I got now, it's a big step down from where we were," Cesar said.

Part of the appeal of bike in a box is that it helps families come together.

Cesar gets to teach his daughter how to ride her first bike and 11-year-old Eduardo Vasquez will build his first bike with his dad.

"It's like a Christmas miracle, because I never had a bike before," said Eduardo Vasquez.

For years Eduardo has watched his friends ride their bikes and now he gets to have his very own.

"I'm going to ride it in the rain if my dad lets me," said Eduardo.

With a lot of Christmas wishes granted Sunday, moms and dads might have an easier time making ends meet this holiday season.

This is the third year Lugo Charities has teamed up with Saint Augustine Church for the Bike in a Box event.