Ephrata barber, Marine veteran collects bikes for Toys for Tots

Lancaster

EPHRATA, Pa. (WHTM) — A typical day at the Sports Barber in Ephrata involves cutting, trimming, and shaving customers’ hair.  For owner Eric Bair, it’s business as usual. What makes this place unusual is what surrounds its walls and floors this time of year: bikes, and lots of them.

“As many kids that are going through there, there’s no way we get enough bicycles for all the kids,” Bair said.

He’s part of an army of volunteers and uses his shop to collect bikes for Toys for Tots.

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“We started in 2010. That year, we collected 7 or 9 bicycles and it’s really grown from there,” Bair said.

Through word of mouth, the momentum started building. Now, “I’m getting boxes from people I don’t even know who to thank,” Bair said.

It’s an unlikely project for a Marine veteran, who continues to give back year after year.

“Maybe it took this to realize that it’s better to give than to receive. As a kid, I didn’t realize it. I’m catching on now. It’s fun, “ Bair said.

Bair is also realizing just how much of a blessing those bikes are for local families. Even a Marine gets emotional when seeing a kid get a bike on Christmas.

“If I happen to see somebody in the warehouse at the distribution center shedding a tear, I might turn my head away so no one sees me doing the same thing you know. It’s emotional,” he added.

For hundreds of kids in Lancaster County — or to be precise 301 of them — it was a very merry Christmas thanks to Bair.

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