What was your best Christmas gift as a kid? For many, it was a bike. Santa brought D’Anna Pulliam a brand-new black English Racer when she was 9. And Dannie Lamb, 66, remembers — when he was 8, maybe 10 — waking to a shiny new Schwinn, and promptly adding baseball cards to its spokes. Pulliam and Lamb were among volunteers who gathered at a former Walmart in Midwest City Monday to tag and tune up bikes being distributed to needy families in the Salvation Army’s annual toy distribution Tuesday and Wednesday. Thanks to donations from Feed The Children and individuals and companies communitywide, the nonprofit is giving turkeys, food and some 14,000 gifts to 2,000 households, each with one to eight children, spokeswoman Heidi Brandes said. The toy distribution always has held a special place in her heart, said Pulliam, a Salvation Army auxiliary member. “There’s so much joy in the parents’ faces when they collect the presents we’re giving them for their kids,” she said. “But amid that joy,” she said, “you see parents whose children requested bikes, and didn’t get one, begging for a bike.” That was haunting for Pulliam, who with other auxiliary members started an ongoing campaign to buy bikes for the annual distributions. “Buck$ 4 Bikes,” which funded 44 bicycles in its 2006 launch year, this year raised $24,000 for 658 bikes — which Pulliam now orders wholesale in September from Ohio-based Huffy Bicycles. Old Dominion Freight trucks the bikes from a California warehouse for free, while some 150 volunteers from bike stores and elsewhere gather in early December to assemble them. Through an annual race, the Oklahoma Bicycle Society buys helmets for every bike and skateboard donated. Other bike donations this year came from Waste Connections and Southwest Airlines, which donated 30 and 23, respectively. And individuals also bought bikes for specific children who requested them via tags on the Salvation Army’s Angel Trees in area malls. Still, there are about 1,800 requests for bikes, Pulliam said. That means at least half of the kids will wake disappointed Sunday morning. This is my fifth Advent to proudly participate in the Salvation Army’s gift distribution. It’s become part of a Christmas tradition for me and so many others whose faces now are familiar. I inadvertently reported for duty Monday, when presents were being given to needy seniors — and not parents of kids, who were served Tuesday and Wednesday. At first, I was disappointed, but I was able to wish many a senior “Merry Christmas” and learned the story of Buck$ 4 Bikes. I plan to add to my Christmas tradition next year and not only volunteer at the toy distribution but also buy at least one bike for a needy child — to help get closer to fulfilling the Christmas wishes of all needy children the Salvation Army serves next year. Won’t you join me? Drop a buck in Buck$ 4 Bikes’ buckets when you see them at J’s Hallmark stores and other area retailers this July; next Thanksgiving, take an Angel Tree tag, with a child who wants a bike, from a tree in Penn Square or Quail Springs Mall; or better yet, send a tax-deductible donation now to Buck$ 4 Bikes, The Salvation Army, P.O. Box 2095, Oklahoma City, OK 73101. Any size gift is appreciated. Merry Christmas!