An outpouring of community outrage, donations and a media blitz followed The Modesto Bee news story about the theft of tricycles used by students with disabilities at Sherwood Elementary in north Modesto.
Eleven specially outfitted trikes, worth about $8,500 all together, disappeared over the weekend from a locked enclosure near Darlene Piersons special education class. Pierson teaches 10 third- through fifth-graders with severe disabilities and had bought most of the specialty equipment herself for them to use in adaptive physical education time.
Those bikes were huge for them, said Kelly Gilbertson, Sherwoods office manager. Phones rang off the hook Tuesday with calls from people wanting to help. Weve had so many calls. Its just overwhelming, she said.
Valley Harvest Nut Co. of Modesto brought a $1,000 check. The World of Wheels donated two bicycles. The Sherwood Parent Teacher Club decided to donate proceeds from its annual jog-a-thon on Sept. 27 to the cause.
A half dozen television news crews stopped by the school to cover the story. KAT Country 103 will be coming to lead the Pledge of Allegiance with the entire school Friday morning.
It just shows you how our community comes together, Gilbertson said.
To make donations, contact Sherwood Elementary at (209)574-5200, or mail checks made out to Sherwood PTC to Special Trikes, c/o Sherwood Parent Teacher Club, 819 E. Rumble Road, Modesto 95350. To report information about the theft, call Crime Stoppers at (209)521-4636 or send a text message to 274637. Just type TIP704 along with your message. Bee education reporter Nan Austin can be reached at email@example.com or (209) 578-2339. Follow her on Twitter @NanAustin.