Group raises money to buy bikes for Cuyahoga County children in foster care

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CLEVELAND– Providing new bicycles for children in foster care is the goal of a donation drive being organized by a charitable local couple.

Jennifer and Michael Portschy work in the medical field and have seen up close the impact of the opioid crisis in breaking up families and forcing children into foster care.

“How it’s a big problem and not just these people that live over there that nobody knows about, like it’s a problem in your city, in the suburbs, everywhere. There are over 2,000 kids in Cuyahoga County that are in foster care just this year,” Jennifer said.

Building around their belief that every child deserves a bicycle, the couple decided to get involved four years ago in a charity called Together We Rise. It invites donors to give up to $75 to purchase a new bike and then help assemble it.

The Portschys goal is to raise $15,000 between now and mid-November, so that they can provide bikes for 200 children in foster care at Christmas.

“Being in foster care is tough, you’re at the holidays, you’ve been removed from everybody you know. And we wanted to give a gift and what better gift for a kid than a bicycle on Christmas morning? That’s what every kid wants is a brand, new shiny bike,” Jennifer said.

After the bicycles are purchased, organizers plan to have an assembly party at the Players I Baseball Academy in Walton Hills on Dec. 8.

“It’s organized confusion, there are people and kids everywhere building bikes,” said owner Tim Stacey.

Stacey ssaid the chance to bring a smile to the face of a child in foster care, is a gift for the givers.

“Just to make a kid feel special, not only during the holidays, but year round,” he said. “It’s hard to imagine what’s going through their young minds, to be able to help them in any way is just something special.”

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