Wheely Great! PA Boy Donates Rides For Rockaway
Nick Daniloff, of Lewisburg, Pa., was inspired when he heard that Ariel Creamer, a 14-year-old Rockaway resident, was helping the Sandy-torn community by collecting donations for local kids who lost their belongings in the storm through her “Survivors Silver Lining” project.
Creamer’s story went national when she was recognized by Scholastic Storyworks for her efforts. Through a Scholastic Storyworks magazine and video, students across the country learned about what Creamer was doing. Nick Daniloff happened to be one of the thousands of students who saw her story.
As an avid bike rider, Daniloff was personally affected by the fact that so many Rockaway kids had lost their bikes due to Sandy. To help Rockaway kids get back on their wheels, Daniloff started his own project called “Rides for Rockaway.” At the end of August, Daniloff set out on a mission to collect 50 bikes.
“I wanted to do it because I knew it would make me feel good,” Daniloff said. With the help of his parents, Mike and Carolyn Daniloff, the sixth grader started to get attention from local media in Pennsylvania and his story quickly spread. The family also made up a sandwich board that explained the project, which they placed outside of local stores to continue to get the word out. In addition to requesting the donation of gently used bikes, Daniloff also collected gift cards and cash to purchase new bikes. He also received a big helping hand from Linntown Elementary School which ran a coin drive for his project. The school was able to raise $500 which went toward buying bikes.
While collecting bikes, Daniloff made a lot of friends with those who helped. One of them was a Pennsylvania man named Mr. King who happened to repair and sell bikes. King donated a bike and gave Daniloff big deals on repairs and gently used bikes, which allowed them to spread their budget and buy many bikes for as little at $25.
By the beginning of November, Daniloff had surpassed his goal by collecting 62 bikes for Rockaway kids. He had to stop collecting as the storage unit he was using, which was donated by another family, was filled to the brim. On Saturday, November 9th, the Daniloffs set off for Rockaway from Lewisburg, Pa., with all 62 bikes in a trailer that a friend let them borrow.
The family was given a warm welcome when they arrived in Rockaway. Creamer and some of her friends and family members greeted the Daniloff family with goodies from Dunkin’ Donuts on the chilly November morning. It was the first time that Daniloff and Creamer got to meet in person and hear each other’s voices. The two had been communicating mostly through Facebook and email before they met.
“It was awesome to get to meet her for the first time,” Daniloff said. Creamer was proud of Daniloff for his accomplishment. “It’s amazing that he took the initiative and went through with it and did what he did,” she said.
Kids of all ages were able to receive a bike at the event. Those who had received bikes had pre-registered by contacting Creamer through her “Survivors Silver Lining” Facebook page. “Bikes are a simple thing that so many people need but don’t think are a necessity,” Creamer said. “To give back bikes is such a beautiful thing.”
Those who received bikes were grateful for what Daniloff did for them. “I’m really grateful because I didn’t know how else I would have gotten a bike. All of our money went toward rebuilding the house” resident Caitlin Donohue said. “We didn’t get to ride our bikes over the summer so we’re glad to be able to ride bikes again,” Jenna Rosenfeld said. “What he was able to do to help the kids was incredible,” Helen Renda, whose son and daughter both received bikes, said.
After picking out a bike of their choice, the kids gave them a test ride and participated in a bike parade around the block. Rabbi Marjorie Slome allowed Creamer to use the West End Temple Parking lot on Newport Avenue for the giveaway. Creamer added that an anonymous donor from the temple also offered to buy helmets for the kids who received bikes.
Daniloff and Creamer said they aren’t quite done giving yet. “Accomplishing something like this leaves the door open and allows him to know that he can do it if he wants to,” Nick’s mother, Carolyn Daniloff said. “He’s getting to an age where he can appreciate doing something like this.”
Creamer said that she has more events in mind, including some for the holidays, as she continues showing young Sandy survivors that there are silver linings after the storm. For updates, check out Creamer’s “Survivors Silver Lining” Facebook page.