Girl gives bicycle prize to charity

Olympic View Elementary School fifth-grader Ally Cleary seems to have everything she wants.

When she won a bicycle through a reading contest with the Masons, she decided the bike could bring joy into someone else’s life.

She donated the bike to the Marine Corps Toys for Tots drive that is taking place this month.

“Because I already have two bikes, I think somebody needs it more than I do,” Ally said. She gave the bike to Sgt. Sean McGill, who is helping collect toys for the annual drive.

Charity seems to come first for the generous girl. Ally visited Santa recently. Instead of rattling off a list of presents she’d like for Christmas, she asked Santa if he would get an American Girl doll for her best friend.

To earn the bike, Ally had to read a number of books and then take a test on how well she absorbed the material.

Throughout the fall she read such books as “Matilda,” “Holes,” “The Sign of the Beaver” and “Letters from Camp.” She earned the right to enter a drawing for the bicycle that was sponsored by the Whidbey Masonic Lodge. She won the drawing and received her bike approximately two weeks ago.

Ally Cleary isn’t the only one donating toys for the holidays.

Toys for Tots barrels have been set up at stores and businesses in Oak Harbor. Barrels can be found at Kmart, Wal-Mart, the Navy Exchange, Officers’ Club, Wells Fargo bank and the Navy Federal Credit Union.

Marine Gunnery Sgt. Derrick Rucker, who is heading up the Toys for Tots drive on Whidbey Island, said approximately 1,500 toys are needed to meet goals this year. The greatest need is toys for children 5 years and older. While the Marines collect the toys, they don’t distribute them. That is done by the Venture Club on the north end of the island and Holiday House on the south end of the island.

Toys will be collected through Dec. 23. Last year, the Whidbey Island toy drive distributed 7,200 new toys to grateful children.

For information on Toys for Tots call 257-4164, a number displayed on the barrels located in the businesses participating in this year’s drive.

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