donate to alex's xmas for kids

Alex’s Xmas for Kids Foundation started in the fall of 1999, when Alex decided to purchase a few bikes to give out to local under-privileged children on Christmas Day. As one of 10 children growing up, money was always tight in the Cook family, so Alex never experienced the feeling of waking up on Christmas Day to his very own, brand new, shiny bike. So in the spirit of the season, Alex wanted to be able to give that feeling to a few kids in need.

He lined the bikes up in the restaurant, and as customers came in to eat and place holiday catering orders, they began asking questions. Alex proceeded to tell the story of his childhood and how he wanted to make a difference in some other child’s life.  And so Alex’s Xmas for Kids bike program was born.  People were inspired by Alex’s story and wanted to help. Customer after customer started giving Alex money to go out and purchase more bikes to pass out on Christmas Day; before you know it he had collected enough money to purchase 180 bikes that year.

Each year since then Alex’s Xmas for Kids has given out bikes to the children in the Tampa community. To date, we’ve raised enough funds to donate more than 9,000 new bicycles.  In addition, we’ve obtained our non-profit status and recruited the help of his wife Aimee; friends Elizabeth Brennan, Karin Millas and Mike Olsen and Alex’s 4 boys, Alex Jr., Jordan, Chazz and Dwayne.  

In order to identify the children in need, Alex’s Xmas for Kids reaches out to the school principals, guidance counselors and social workers in Hillsborough County and offers up to 10 bikes per school to be distributed to those in our community that are less fortunate or have never received a bike before.  They have the daunting task of selecting the children to receive these bikes each year. Their tireless efforts in selecting the kids, contacting the parents, arranging for the bikes to be picked up on donation day and then organizing how they will get the bikes to the kids is greatly appreciated and we certainly could not do this without them.

Alex’s Xmas for Kids receives donations from his loyal customers throughout the year to continue this service to the community.  One hundred percent of the proceeds raised are used to purchase new bicycles from the local Wal-Mart.  In addition, Alex’s Xmas for Kids collects old bikes and donates those to God’s Pedal Power, another non-profit organization dedicated to those less fortunate in our community.  The founder Mike Olsen, refurbishes those donated bikes and distributes them throughout our community all during the year. 

In the past two years, we have also teamed up with AAA to provide new bicycle helmets for all the bikes donated.  This has been a great partnership and we look forward to continuing with them in the years to come.

The program is dedicated to Alex’s mom, Mrs. Nellie Cooks, who passed away in May of 2010.  “Mom” was the force behind the generosity in Alex and the rest of the Cooks family.  She didn’t have much, but what she did have she always made sure the less fortunate were not forgotten.  She was so proud of her son and especially of the program.

We’re all very proud of the program and thankful to everyone who has given a donation so we can continue with our efforts.  We know the children, as well as the schools are also very appreciative.  Alex’s vision for the program has been achieved and his kindness and generosity is passed along with every bicycle given away.  He may not be Santa Claus, but he gives the kids something they can believe in.