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"We want to be a blessing to our community." Nonprofit, church give bikes to kids

The bikes children will receive (Kelsie Metzgar/WSET)

DANVILLE, Va. (WSET) - Christmas is coming early for hundreds of kids on the Southside! The Danville Church-Based Tutorial program is partnering with Abundant Life Church to give away at least 500 bikes.

"I think it's a great gift because they're going to be getting exercise," says Bill Motley, the senior pastor at Abundant Life Church. "They're going to be getting outside."

There is a catch. "If they increase their reading level, they receive a bike," Kenneth Lewis, the executive director of the Danville Church-Based Tutorial Program, explains.

Lewis says they have 500 kids involved in the program between their 40 sites in Danville, Pittsylvania County, and Caswell County. "We are a nonprofit organization using churches to tutor kids after school."

Their coordinators are registering their kids who qualify, but you don't have to be part of the program to receive a bike. You can call to register your child. "When they come here on December the 17 we have a list of the kids who qualify and one of the criteria is they have to bring a copy of their report card or progress report to show us they're doing well in reading," Lewis says.

A Danville native, Lewis explains that he always had a desire to come back and help the area after his career in the NFL. Opportunities like this help him to encourage smiles and success. "I grew up in a kind of at-risk situation and I recognize if you have that support in life, man you can excel."

Lewis says thanks to grants from the Danville Regional Foundation and Dollar General, they were able to purchase 300 of the bikes. The church has provided the other bikes. "We want to be a blessing to our community," Motley says.

They currently have about 430 bikes and 400 kids registered. They're looking to get 70 more bikes and register more kids.

Your last day to register for a bike is December 13. All you have to do is call Abundant Life Church on Mount Cross Road. They are giving the bikes to the kids on December 17. In addition to the bikes, the church is providing a turkey to the first 500 people who show up.

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