Children at the Santa Clarita Valley Boys and Girls Club’s Newhall clubhouse zoomed up and down the sidewalk, outside the facility and near the park, having a jolly good old time thanks to an early holiday gift.
Chiquita Canyon donated more than 100 bikes and 70 scooters to nonprofits, the SCV Boys and Girls Club’s Newhall and Canyon Country clubhouses, and the Santa Clarita Grocery, as part of Waste Connection’s 22nd Christmas Promise Bike Build Program. The bikes and scooters were assembled by landfill employees and delivered throughout Tuesday morning and afternoon.
“The goal is to try and get kids that don’t have bikes, or kids who have never had bikes, a bike for Christmas,” said Steve Cassulo, district manager of Chiquita Canyon. “That’s what we’re trying to shoot for — is anything that we can do to try and cheer them up for the holidays.”
Chiquita Canyon is the local landfill that provides service to the Santa Clarita Valley. In addition, the company also produces energy out of the garbage.
“We light up about 10,000 homes a day with the garbage that comes in and the power plant that we have collects the gas, methane and whatnot,” Cassulo said.
Chiquita Canyon also lit up a lot of children’s faces this year with its holiday gifts.
Adriana Hernandez, 14, has been a member of the Boys and Girls Club of Santa Clarita for about six years. Hernandez said the bike she got was a great gift.
“It feels nice. I like that it reminds me of my childhood, and it brings back memories,” Hernandez said.
She said that life was difficult for a bit due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now that she has a bike, she said, it will brighten her day because she’ll be able to play around her home.
Hernandez said she has made a lot of friends while being part of the Boys and Girls Club. She feels that if any kid gets a chance to join, they should and they’ll have a lot of fun.
“They can make friends, and they will, I know that for a fact,” she added.
Isabella Garcia, 13, agreed with her friend Hernandez — the bikes and scooters were great.
“It’s cool because few people can afford stuff like at the stores,” Garcia said. “It’s really great that they can have free stuff like this.”
Matt Nelson, president and CEO of the SCV Boys & Girls Club, said they’ve received bikes from Chiquita Canyon for several years.
“Every year we do this and there’s always a few who have not ridden a bike before or never had a bike, and a good amount of them have ridden a bike,” Nelson said. “But we find that this is great because it gives them more reason to be outside playing in the neighborhood or in the park.”
Overall, the bike program is a great experience for the kids, but it’s more of a positive experience as things return to a sense of normalcy after the COVID-19 pandemic, though families may still face challenges brought on by the pandemic, whether it’s financial, health-related or the loss of a loved one, Nelson noted.
“You know, it’s been a tough year. We’ve been saying that for a few years,” Nelson said. “By Chiquita Canyon supporting the club, they’re helping those families and kids make an awesome, memorable Christmas.”