United Way Teen Christmas thanks Hickory Fire Department

March 21, 2023




The Catawba County United Way Teen Christmas volunteers recently took the time to say thank you to the Hickory Fire Department (HFD).

teen xmas

In 2023, the HFD purchased and assembled 500 bikes for the Christmas Bureau, including 50 bikes for the United Way Teen Christmas program, which also provided clothes and gifts for 474 teens (ages 13-17) in Catawba County. 

These gifts were distributed during the annual Christmas Bureau – a collaborative effort by local agencies and organizations to provide toys, food, clothing and coats to children and teenagers in need of assistance during the Christmas season. 

According to Hickory Fire Department Fire Marshall Stephen Craig, the HFD’s bike outreach, called Bikes for Tykes, started more than 15 years ago with Hickory Firefighter Wayne Clark.

“(Clark) basically would collect used bicycles around town and then bring them back to the station where he and a couple of other guys would fix them up and give them away to families they knew were in need,” Craig said.

Eventually, the HFD began to partner with local non-profits through the Christmas Bureau like The Salvation Army and the United Way’s Teen Christmas to provide even more bikes and tricycles to families during the holidays.

Last year, the Hickory Fire Department raised funds through donations from individuals and local corporate sponsors. Learn more about Bike for Tykes sponsors at the Hickory Fire Department’s Facebook page. 

It took the firefighters less than two weeks to assemble the hundreds of bikes purchased last December. They then helped distribute them to families during the three days of the Christmas Bureau.

“We normally help people through medical or fire calls,” Craig said. “This is a chance to provide for families on a personal level, especially being able to hand out the bikes directly to families during the Christmas Bureau.”

Catawba County United Way Teen Christmas volunteer coordinator Rose Arant said they feel lucky to be able to team up with the Hickory Fire Department each year. 

“What the firefighters are doing shows you can do your job and still find the time to contribute back to the community and help make a difference,” Arant said.

For more information about how to support the Hickory Fire Department Bikes for Tykes program contact Stephen Craig at scraig@hickorync.gov or call 828-323-7457.