Annual Christmas with Kids bicycle giveaway in National City lagging in donations

Organizer says its down 50 percent

NATIONAL CITY, Calif. - A bicycle giveaway that started very small years ago and then grew to providing toys to hundreds of needy children each Christmas has fallen on hard times.

Brian Trum has been sorting bicycles to be given away this Christmas, lining them up by size and if they are for a boy or a girl. 

"It gives Santa a little lead time to do what he does best, know what I mean?" he said.

Donations are off, though, for the annual Christmas with Kids event in National City.

“We've done very well with that the last couple of years, but the economy's not what it used to be and everybody's struggling, so our money's down a good 50 percent, I'd guess," said Trum.

It is quite a scene outside the home of Frank and Charlene King on Christmas morning each year. Excited kids and parents line up halfway around the block to pick up a bicycle or other toys.

King died five years ago after decades of providing bicycles for needy children in his neighborhood.

King's wife Charlene has continued the tradition with assistance. Trum heads up the Boozefighters Motorcycle Club and Christmas with Kids, Inc. 

"I got the job … Frank asked me a long time ago if anything ever happened to him if I would take over and I said, yeah, I would," he said.

And Trum loves it. 

"It's my kids," he said. "I've never had any children so it's what I do every year."

Charlene King is looking forward to another wonderful holiday season but worries about the drop-off in donations. 

"And we don't want to disappoint none of these little children because these children we get are the poorest of the poor," she said.

Two of Santa's helpers this year were given bikes themselves when they were little. 

Ricardo Castellanos and Joseph Loflin are happy they can pay it forward. 

"Back then, it meant a lot for me," said Castellanos.

"Now, we're helping out and spreading the word," said Loflin.

Charlene King added, "I'm just hoping that with God's will these toys will start coming in."

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