MIDLOTHIAN — Staff members with Texas Ace Heating and Air are looking to create smiles this Christmas through Bikes 4 Tykes bicycle collection. The collection will take place from 8 a.m. – noon on Saturday at Heritage Park in Midlothian.

“We are fixing to kick off our fourth annual Bikes 4 Tykes here in Midlothian for our local Manna House. Everything that we collect goes to the Manna House. We have given them hundreds of bikes over the last three years. We absolutely receive nothing. It is all for charity,” said Jory McDaniel, owner of Texas Ace Heating and Air. “It is a growing event. Every qualified kid through the Manna House program gets a bike.”

McDaniel said the response was so great last year that the needs of Manna House were met and the bikes that were donated to three different churches.

People who wish to make a donation are asked bring a new fully assembled bike to the park. Any monetary donations collected will be given Manna House to help meet other children’s needs for Christmas. Santa Claus will also be making an appearance and will be available for photos.

McDaniel said the community has embraced the event and has made it a success.

“The Midlothian Panther baseball team has already contacted me. They kind of do their own drive through the Midlothian Panther baseball program. They show up with truckloads of bikes and get their picture in front of the tree,” McDaniel said. “It is a great thing that we have started four years ago, and it keeps growing and growing. More of the community every year is getting involved just like that baseball team. They are making it a yearly routine thing just like we are. So some out and join us from 8 a.m. to noon. It is quite a scene.”

Sissy Franklin, Executive Director of Manna House, said a bike could make a big difference in a child’s life.

“With these kids, we have found they are not wanting to be special or anything they just want to fit in. They just want their load lightened because a lot of these kids have to walk to school and a bicycle helps with that,” Franklin said. “It is one more thing that this community can do for them to make them feel like they belong here.”

According to Manna House’s website, the organization serves residents in the 76065 zip code and the Midlothian Independent School District. They also work together with other outreaches in Ellis County, which allows each agency to serve better those who are in need. One the services it provides is a food pantry.

People who have questions about the event can contact Texas Ace Heating and Air at 817-240-6701. If people are interested in finding out how they can support Manna House, they can contact its staff at 972-775-1800. Manna House and Food Pantry is located at 214 W. Avenue F in Midlothian. Heritage Park is located at 234 N. Eight St. in Midlothian.

— Follow Andrew on Facebook at www.facebook.com/AndrewBrancaWDL or on Twitter at www.twitter.com/AndrewBrancaWNI. Contact him at andrew.branca@waxahachietx.com or 469-517-1451.