Santa’s helpers assemble bikes

BRANCHVILLE. Selective Insurance employees put together 52 children’s bicycles for the Season of Hope Toy Shop operated by Project Self-Sufficiency.

Newton /
| 21 Dec 2023 | 03:23

Wednesday, Dec. 13 was not a typical day at the office for employees at Selective Insurance’s corporate headquarters in Branchville.

Instead of picking up a coffee and danish in the company cafeteria, 52 teams of four people each stood around the small tables, each bearing a big cardboard box.

When the signal was given, the teams tore into the boxes and started assembling children’s bicycles.

One obvious newcomer to the annual event was told to ignore the instructions - there was no time to read them.

Several minutes later, a group shouted as one of their members rode the newly assembled bike in a narrow lane between the tables.

This was the 17th year that Selective employees have assembled bikes for the Season of Hope Toy Shop operated by Project Self-Sufficiency in Newton.

The number this year was almost double what they’ve done in previous years.

Speaking before the bike assembly began, Deborah Berry-Toon, executive director of Project Self-Sufficiency, thanked Selective for being a big partner of the nonprofit organization.

”It’s not just today, although today is pretty much our favorite day all year,” she said.

Selective also supports the Chili Open, a major fundraiser for homeless families in February; the Prom Shop in the spring; and other projects. “We couldn’t feed 500 families at Thanksgiving if it wasn’t for Selective.”

In case any employees were worried about rushing to assemble the bikes, Berry-Toon assured them that students on the Newton High School robotics team would be checking their work to make sure that the bikes are safe for their new owners.