|RP businessman thrills kids with gifts of bicycles
Mark Pippin gives out more than 100 bikes
Dozens of elementary aged children were the fortunate recipients of free bicycles last Thursday afternoon, courtesy of a Rohnert Park business owner.
Organizing his first free holiday bike giveaway, Innovative Screen Printing owner Mark Pippin, along with local partnerships, made this year's holiday a little more special for community families.
"This is where I live and this is where I work," Pippen said. "As a business owner we all need to step up and help the community. It doesn't take much to do this. We pulled this off in three weeks. Look at the happy faces - that's my Christmas."
With members of the Rancho Cotati High School marching band keeping recipients and onlookers in a festive mood, Pippen was busy giving bikes away of various colors adorned with tassels and foot pegs to grateful kids and parents.
"It's about the kids. Right now, there's a lot of kids that are not going to have a Christmas," Pippen said. "This (give away) started out as 10 bikes, then 15 and now we're over 100. There's just a need in our community."
Most of the children in need were identified by local elementary school principals who read essays submitted by the children. Some bikes are also being donated to the local Boys and Girls Club.
Pippen, now in his eighth year in business, says the commitment to organizing an event like the $15,000 free bike giveaway requires building relationships with fellow businesses and keeping the financial expenses to minimum.
"I have built some incredible relationships with the city, the bike coalition, bike helmet program, Dynacraft (bike importer), and some corporate customers that work with me," Pippen said. "Next year I am going to double what we are doing."
Local businesses Pace Supply, AM Printing, and nonprofit organization The Fence At The Top were lead corporate sponsors and organizers for the event.
"He did all the work. We're just the non-profit that allows people to donate," The Fence At The Top executive director Honor Jackson said. "It's a great deal."
The free bicycle giveaway is not the first philanthropic event Pippen has been involved with. He has a strong history of involvement within the community for giving. He once donated a car containing hundreds of backpacks with school supplies in them. The car went too.
"If we all work together, the community is great. We live in a great community. One of the best. It is (great) because of what each one of us does," says Pippen.