Sometimes a negative can turn into a positive and that’s what happened to a Camden youth program. The LUCY Outreach (Lifting Up Camden’s Youth) organization had a program for kids to ride bikes; they got to be outside, get some exercise, and socialize in a safe environment. Then calamity struck: three thieves broke into a shed at the East Camden center and stole 28 bikes. The thieves were caught on video, but according to Tapinto Camden, no suspects have been apprehended.

The children were crushed as one of the most popular programs came to a screeching halt. But, as word spread of the despicable theft, the community started rallying around the organization; with generous donations from American Water and Subaru of America, along with individual donations, over $50,000 was raised to replace the bikes. "It's important for us to give back to our community here in Camden," said Joseph Szafran, an American Water representative.

Kristin Prinn, the executive director of LUCY, told the Courier-Post, "It's really been so moving to see hundreds of people reaching out, calling, texting, emailing, bringing used bikes from their garage (and) donating for us to purchase new bikes."

Now, not only can the program be revived, but expanded; Prinn said that the donations will probably allow the center to offer 100 bicycles for the rides. The city also is providing a shipping container so the bikes can be stored securely.

LUCY is always looking for volunteers and donations; if you’re interested in supporting LUCY, their website is:

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Bill Doyle. Any opinions expressed are Bill Doyle's own.

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