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Stolen “Toys For Tots” Presents Spur New Wholesome Annual Tradition.

John Peeler stands in front of a large amount of kids' bikes and toys.

Christmas is known as the time of giving, but last year, the Salvation Army in Champaign County, Illinois was dealt a heavy blow. Someone had broken into their Toys for Tots trailer, stealing hundreds of children’s toys. This included bikes. When a local, John Peeler, caught wind of the stolen presents, he rallied together friends to help save the day.

John and his friends, Jim Hampton and Stan Friese, got in contact with the organization to find out how many bikes needed to be replaced. Together, they went shopping, replacing around 55. This year, no presents were stolen — but that didn’t stop these three friends from making a difference once again.

A three-photo collage showing John Peeler, Jim Hampton, and Stan Friese talking to news crew.

From Stolen Presents to Wholesome Tradition

This year, John and his friends set out to donate even more bikes for children in need. Except, this time, they set a much loftier goal for themselves.

John Peeler stands in front of a large amount of kids' bikes and toys.

“When John called me this year, we already decided we were going to try to double it,” Stan said. “Which we did. We doubled it. And we’ll shoot for more next year.”

In total, these kindhearted friends donated 110 bikes, eight scooters, and a big wheel. And they weren’t the only ones who helped make this happen — students in the Pike Fraternity at the University of Illinois helped unload the bikes.

View from the ground of bikes sat out in front of storage trailers. College students walk around behind the bikes.

“It makes me feel fantastic,” Stan said.

There’s no telling how many bikes John, Jim, and Stan will donate next year, but one thing is for sure: Thanks to them, there are sure to be lots of happy kiddos on Christmas in Illinois this year!

You can find the source of this story’s featured image here!

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