More than 1,500 local children scored free bicycles and toys Saturday at Davis Broadcasting’s Needy Children’s Christmas Party.
The 43rd annual holiday event, which was held at the Columbus Civic Center, aims to send every child in attendance home with a Christmas present.
“We do it because we know there are families in need,” said Nicole Buffong, Davis Broadcasting promotions director.
Around 10 a.m., the crowd had already filled hundreds of seats within the Civic Center’s arena. They watched as Davis Broadcasting radio personalities read off raffle numbers for the 225 bikes available.
“It’s good for me because what we do is all about the community,” said D.J. Chip, morning show personality on Foxie 105. “A lot of these kids might not have gotten a bike for Christmas. It’s hard. It’s a recession.”
Children who did not win a bike through the raffle still got their choice of a toy. On the arena floor, tables were lined with Barbies, board games, Transformers, Bratz dolls, footballs and more.
Arteria Florence, 8, was one of the couple hundred children who won a bike. How did she feel about that?
“Happy,” she said. Arteria said she planned to ride Saturday, despite the cold and rainy weather.
Cousin Arjayvia Florence, 9, picked out a Princess and the Frog jewelry set. She said she is a big fan of the new Disney movie. “I want to see that movie so bad,” she said.
Davis Broadcasting raised more than $10,000 through its annual radiothon to put on the event and provide presents.
Kids were also treated to a McDonald’s coupon for lunch. Carmike Cinemas gave away complimentary movie tickets to the first 50 attendees, as well as movie t-shirts and toys for the rest. And SafeKids Columbus provided free helmets to those who had won bikes.
This year was Ashley Chambers’ second time attending with her son and daughter, ages 2 and 6. Chambers, 25, said she appreciated the goodwill of Davis Broadcasting.
“They always do good things, that’s why I support them,” she said.
The event’s sponsors included McDonald’s, Columbus Bank and Trust, Columbus Hospice, West Georgia Orthodontics, Carmike Cinemas, Dancing Needles and Drs. Thomas N. Malone and Thomas M. Malone.