Reserve man, businesses donating bikes to dozens of needy children
LAPLACE — Bryce Robertson of Reserve knows that, to a child, a bike is so much more than a Christmas gift.
A bike represents hours of laughing and joking with friends on familiar neighborhood streets. For younger children, it presents a memorable learning experience with family.
Operating by the motto “Shoot Your Shot. Be Great,” Robertson is building his online apparel brand through community outreach in St. John the Baptist Parish.
At 1 p.m. Saturday, Robertson is presenting bikes to more than 30 families in need at Rising Star Baptist Church, 620 Cardinal Street in LaPlace.
Recipients are being selected Thursday (Dec. 20) from a drawing, according to Robertson.
Over the past few weeks, community members have submitted names of children who could use extra kindness this Christmas.
There is still time to nominate a child through the end of today (Dec. 19) by messaging a child’s name, age, gender and a short description of why the child is deserving of a new bike to Robertson at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Facebook and Instagram @armondapparel.
Contact information is also required. Winners will be notified Thursday evening via an email or phone call to the person who nominated the child.
“The winners are invited to come out with their families Saturday to receive their bikes,” Robertson said. “We know from past experience how monumental and memorable events like this can be.”
Robertson, a 2008 alumnus of East St. John High School and Entergy employee, began brainstorming ways to give back to the community when he opened his online clothing store, Armonde Apparel, last year.
He specializes in stylish street wear for men and women, including hats, T-shirts, V-necks and crop tops. Above all, Robertson aims to keep his business consumer driven by honoring the core values of “integrity, honesty and accountability.”
“We feel it is so important that businesses themselves don’t look at people to receive from them,” Robertson said. “Businesses are actually an integral part in helping the community to grow. We want to be a brand that is much more meaningful than any type of product we could sell.”
Robertson’s friend and digital marketing specialist Shar’nee Francis is sponsoring the bike giveaway.
Francis is proud of Robertson for taking the bike giveaway from concept to reality in just more than a month, and she’s confident he is on his way to making a difference.
“He was trying to get the message out as it pertains to inspiring people through clothing,” Francis said.
“He’s really trying to live the message he speaks through his brand. The Shoot Your Shot tagline is fueled by the capital from the physical product, but it’s more of a lifestyle in giving back to the community.”
The bike giveaway is Robertson’s outreach event, and he plans to turn it into an annual effort because there is no shortage of need in the community.
One of the submissions that stands out to him is a child who recently lost his father yet remains an upbeat and positive influence to his peers.
Robertson hopes Saturday inspires downtrodden families by reminding them to live freely and take their shot, because there are others looking out for them.
Bicycles are being donated with help from Walmart, nonprofit organization Seeds of Resilience, T and L Labor Services, The-Site.io, Justin Bernard, Akaisha Walker and Clarissa Stapleton.