Real Life Santa Gifts 1500 Bikes to San Diego Kids

For group of second and third-grade students at Highlands Elementary School in San Diego, Christmas came a little bit early this year– courtesy of a local nonprofit organization named Bikes for Kids.

According to, “Students were asked to each write an essay detailing how they would ‘fill someone’s bucket,’ doing admirable acts and making the world a better place.” They were then told that 2-3 essay writers would win a new bike. However, when the young essayists gathered for their Fill a Bucket Book assembly on December 5th, they were in for a big surprise.

First, some background. Bikes for Kids was founded by Bill and Debbie Pollakov in 2001 with the intention of “doing something good for needy children.” The organization seeks to help out children from broken homes, orphanages, and low income situations where they would receive very little, if anything at all, during the holidays. This year Highlands and La Presa Elementary schools were selected for the giveaway.

At the assembly, the initial winners were revealed. Then when Bill Pollakov gave away some more. Finally, after much build up, a curtain is pulled open to reveal bikes for every one of the gathered children.

“A lot of students have experienced things that we wish 8 and 9-year-olds haven’t experienced in their lives—death from cancer, poverty, a parent in jail, the one whose mother passed away— all of these touching stories,” says Highlands principal Eileen Cotter in the video below. “When you know them and you know their life stories, and the curtain opens and you can see the joy on their faces, it’s really touching.”

A similar assembly was held at La Presa Elementary School that same day. This year alone, Bikes for kids has donated approximately 1,500 bikes to children across San Diego County.