How does a community service organization like the Evening Kiwanis Club of Delaware continue to fit and distribute free bike helmets to youngsters who need them? The answer is to do it virtually followed by a drive-thru pickup!
Bike Helmets save lives. Currently in the state of Ohio, it is estimated that just 10-20% of children wear bike helmets, yet more than 70% of children ages 4 to 15 ride a bicycle regularly. Universal use of bicycle helmets by children could prevent between 135 and 155 deaths, between 39,000 and 45,000 head injuries, and between 18,000 and 55,000 scalp and face injuries annually. Children are encouraged to wear their bike helmet, not just when they ride a bike, but anytime they are on something with wheels, like skateboards, roller or inline skates, scooters, or even an ATV.
Kiwanis clubs around the world designate one special project as their signature project for which they are known by in their community. The Evening Kiwanis Club of Delaware has been working with the Delaware General Health District and the Delaware Police Department for the last four years to become the “go to” organization as a source of free bike helmets. If a child does not have a bike helmet, or has outgrown their old helmet, or their helmet has been damaged in an accident, members of the Evening Kiwanis Club have been fitting and distributing as many as 200 bike helmets each year to children and even adults. But how do you do that in the middle of a pandemic that has seen all three events cancelled at which the club usually sets up their bike helmet station?
Bike helmets for this year’s distribution projects came from the Ohio chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) “Put A Lid On It!” bike helmet safety awareness campaign (celebrating its 10th anniversary this year) and the 2019-20 Ohio District Kiwanis First Family project, “Prevention of Kids’ Head Trauma,” coordinated by the Ohio District Kiwanis Foundation. Both programs work with local groups to provide Ohio children with bike helmets and raise awareness for the importance of helmets in saving lives and preventing injuries.
Club President Judy Domire, working with a committee headed up by members Sue Chaney and Ruth Ward, were finally able to work out a plan to distribute helmets in a safe way for children as well as Kiwanians. Strengthening Families, housed at Willis, assisted by sending out 1,700 electronic messages about the bike helmet giveaway. The project called for parents who needed helmets to measure their child’s head using a tape measure or a piece of string since in-person helmet fitting was not an option. Once that was done, parents filled in that information and child’s name on their electronic form and returned it to the club. Kiwanis members then selected the proper size helmets and packed them in Kiwanis bags along with fitting instructions and other bike safety information and activities.
On Friday, Aug.14, parents took part in a drive-thru distribution in the former Buehler’s parking lot where the Evening Kiwanis trailer was parked. Parents stayed in their cars and popped open their trunk lids while Kiwanis volunteers took down the names of each child and matched up the correct bags and safely put each bag in the trunk, closed it, and sent the family on their way – all done while following safe distancing and wearing a mask to keep everyone safe. Approximately 60 families were served and upwards of 80 helmets were distributed.
Anyone interested in finding out more about the Evening Kiwanis Club’s Bike Helmet Project or would like to find out more about Kiwanis, which focuses on children, please follow the Evening Kiwanis Club of Delaware on Facebook.
Submitted by the Evening Kiwanis Club of Delaware.