The odds of winning were greater for Opa-locka parents when Commissioner Timothy Holmes revealed that the 100 bicycles he originally promised to raffle to residents had increased to 150 during the Annual Bicycle Giveaway, sponsored by the City of Opa-locka Mayor, Commission and Business Community on Saturday, December 22, 2012 at 12:00 noon, in the Court Yard of Historic City Hall, 777 Sharazad Boulevard, Opa-locka, Florida 33054.
Joining Commissioner Holmes at the event this year, and in soliciting support for the bicycle Give-Away, was the newest member of the dais, Commissioner Luis B. Santiago. Holmes and Santiago noted that, “Over $9000.00 in combined contributions came by way of the business owners.”
Prior to the start of the bike give-away, Commissioner Holmes requested that the huge crowd of excited parents and children pause to give a moment of silence for the families of the Sandy Hook massacre in Newtown, Connecticut who he commented, “…had their holidays altered, and the rest of their lives changed.” Holmes painfully remarked, as he stared into the distance before bowing for meditation, “Our hearts go out to them, as we count our blessings today.” Holmes composed himself and began a run-down on the rules for the raffle. “One child per household; the size of the bike will be based on the size of the child, who must be between ages 3 and 17; each parent must provide proof of Opalocka residency and be accompanied by their child; and finally, NO Saggy Pant wearers will receive a ticket,” he affirmed. Holmes was assisted by staff from various city departments as well as community volunteers who, due to the nature of the Commissioner’s “big heart,” had to remind “pleading parents” from neighboring cities or parents requesting tickets for their other children, that the Commissioner must stick to the rules. “Everyone knows that he is a giver, so we are here to assure that no one takes advantage of his generosity and that Opa-locka residents are provided for first,” stated volunteer Alvin Burks.
Instrumental in expediting the traffic flow was Commissioners Dorothy “Dottie” Johnson, a retired US Postal worker who, during the ID checks, was capable of quickly spotting an address outside of Opa-locka. Mayor Myra L. Taylor and Vice Mayor Joseph L. Kelley assisted with ticket collection and bike distribution, making this a fully participated event by the entire City Commission.
Although there was an additional 50 bicycles added to the raffle, due to an overwhelming demand by residents, some non-bike winners remained. But, the Grinch did not steal their Christmas, for at week’s end, a supplementary of over $3000.00 worth of cash gift cards, along with other toys were collected by Commissioner Holmes and distributed after the bikes ran out… giving all raffle tickets holders an equal and increased chance of winning something for Christmas in the City of Opa-locka!