With her eyes lighting up at the sight of a purple-and-pink Huffy bike, Genesis Mendoza, 3, could hardly help but giggle.
“Is this my bike?” she asked, as Santa and his deputy elves rolled the white wheels down the Hall County courthouse corridor.
A tradition dating back to 1997, the Hall County Sheriff’s Office gave more than 100 bicycles to kids Monday, Dec. 17.
The Sheriff’s Office donated more than 130 bicycles last year, and Capt. Cindy Mustachio said it will probably be close to that total this year.
“Our goal every year is $10,000, and we collected more than that … so we’re able to help more families,” she said.
Fundraising for the event comes from deputies’ donations, the Show and Shine car show as well as other community charity.
Genesis’ mother, Maria Garcia, said her little girl was excited for all of the sparkles and Santa Claus, who lifted the 3-year-old girl over the bike.
“She is excited about the bike. She’ll learn it. I know that the other two will be excited about the bikes, too,” Garcia said.
Garcia also was getting bikes loaded for Kimberly, 12, and Jose Hurtado, 10.
Mustachio said the sheriff’s office expanded the registration period for a two-month sign-up period because it received more than its target fundraising goal. Families are chosen during the sign-up period “and through partnerships with the Hall-Dawson (Court Appointed Special Advocate) program, churches, schools and others who have contact with families in need,” according to the sheriff’s office.
As the family departed the courthouse, all there was left to do was give a hearty hug to Santa.
“See you in about a week, OK. You be a good girl. Enjoy the bicycle,” Santa said.