PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- Second-grade students at Village Meadows Elementary in Phoenix received bikes Friday courtesy of the Arizona Coyotes and the Deer Valley Education Foundation.

It's the 13th year the school has given bikes to its second-graders, but it's a holiday tradition that nearly didn't happen this time around.

"We did have a business partnership with another organization, and given what we're all dealing with right now, they couldn't help out this year," said Village Meadows Elementary School Principal Melissa Weinman.

According to Weinman, around 85% of students at the school receive free or reduced lunches, so a gift this large might not be in the family budget.

"It's emotional. Because this might be their only gift this year," Weinman said.

The Deer Valley Education Foundation raised around a third of the funds needed for the bikes, and the district office helped out too. But with only about a week to go, it looked like the giveaway wasn't going to happen.

That's when Deer Valley Unified School District Superintendent Dr. Curtis Finch reached out to the Arizona Coyotes.

"We're not able to be on the ice right now, but we still want to be out in the community," said Brittani Willett, Executive Director of the Arizona Coyotes Foundation.

The Coyotes helped the school buy the rest of the 43 bikes and helmets needed for the second-graders, with Howler the Coyote presenting them to the kids Friday morning.

"We're trying to make our community better, work together to make this a better place to live," Dr. Finch said. "It's very important because the kids need to realize that people in the community care about them."

 

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