WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Draughon and Jennifer Cranford are no strangers to giving. Last year, the Wilmington couple purchased 30 bikes for Weller's Wheels, one in honor of each employee at their internet retail business. This year they decided to up the ante.
"We've had a great business year as we just celebrated our best day ever (Wednesday)," Draughon said. "We wanted to do something extra special. Truthfully, we believe by helping others, we'll help ourselves."
The Cranfords went to Walmart at Monkey Junction bright and early Thursday morning to pick out their bikes. They chose the larger bikes - the more expensive ones.
Bikes range in price from $39.99 to over $200.
Major Richard Watts with the Salvation Army said the need for bikes in this area is tremendous. He estimates that of the close to 6,000 families they serve, there are around 2,000 requests for children's bikes.
Unfortunately, not every child will get a bike.
Watts says the Christmas season is the most emotional one for the families they serve. He says lots of tears are shed.
"First of all, the tears of anxiety--what am I going to get my children, I can't afford anything," Watts explained. "Then they come into the Christmas Center and that's when you see the tears flowing."
The Cranfords say they haven't always been in the position they're in now and have a great appreciation for parents who aren't afraid to ask for help.
"I tell the story often that only six years ago I gave Jennifer an anniversary present and she made me return it because we couldn't afford it," Draughon said with a smile.
That anniversary present turned out to be a pocketbook. While the money the Cranfords spent on bikes Thursday could likely buy that pocketbook several times over, they say the two-wheel presents children will wake up to Christmas morning is far more rewarding.
"It does feel nice that we can do this now and give back," Jennifer said.