State Troopers give kids new bike helmets, footballs, basketballs

NJSP Bike Helmets

New Jersey State Police handed out bike helmets, footballs, basketballs, and car sets to area residents over the weekend, dispensing safety information along with hot dogs and cold drinks for the station’s annual “bike helmet giveaway.”  The annual event, aimed primarily at kids and getting them to wear bike helmets, has turned into a community get-together – a chance for troopers and area folks to get to know one another.  “We’re just trying to bless the community and get the message out about bike safety,” said Lt. Doug Pearson, Woodbine Station commander.  “This is also a way to build a relationship between state police and the community.”  Pearson and the troopers at the barracks pulled the event together with the help of sponsors, including Gentilini Ford, Acme Markets in Seaville, and Sea Isle Ice.  This year, troopers were able to give away two new bicycles in a free raffle to the kids, as well as several large boxes of footballs, basketballs and soccer balls.  Winning the two bicycles were Joseph Young and Nahjaye Wright.  Wayne Shelton, a retired state trooper, and Sheriff’s Officer Erica Franco attended the event to help people correctly install the car seats that were also freely given to parents and caregivers.  More than 50 people visited the station Saturday, May 20, choosing from a like number of helmets, as well as picking up sports equipment for their children. Pearson took the names and addresses of those who didn’t get a ball to drop one off at a later date for the young ones.  On the lawn spreading out in front of the station, kids played with the footballs and rode their bikes on the wide sidewalk, while their parents had hot dogs and sodas with the state police.  Two young women who had volunteered to help with the event are sisters, and both have backgrounds in education.  Nicole Continisio is a counselor at Woodbine Elementary School.  Her sister, Allie Baumgartner, teaches in Pleasantville.  “This is a good way to bring the community together,” Pearson said.