Christmas arrives on two wheels thanks to Novak tradition

Dec. 19, 2018

This paid piece is sponsored by Novak Sanitary Service.

Bright and early Saturday morning, the crew at Novak Sanitary Service got to work.

But they weren’t headed out to collect trash and recyclables in the neighborhoods.

They were in the office, as volunteers served breakfast, assembling bicycles.

One by one, the bikes took shape, until finally a line of 40 sat, with helmets, ready for new owners.

“We’ve been doing this about 15 years.  It was created by our company as another way to give back to our communities – especially the children,” said Mike Herbst, Novak’s general manager.

“We do a lot of volunteering, donations and sponsorships, but we really wanted to give back to kids.”

The kids live at Children’s Home Society or are being served by Children’s Inn.

Novak employees donate to buy the bikes before assembling them, and parent company Waste Connections matches the donations.

“It really shows the hearts of our employees,” Herbst said. “Our employees volunteer their time to build, and it’s usually on a weekend right before delivery time.”

The children’s organizations provide information on the kids’ genders and ages so the bikes can be ordered to fit.

“We can even get little license plates with their name if we know,” Herbst said.

Last year, Novak donated 80 bikes. The prior year, it was nearly 90. Because the need has been met so fully, excess funds raised now are spent on toys and other needs for the kids and families in the community.

“The whole partnership impacts us as a company just as much as the kids,” Herbst said.

Companywide, Waste Connections built 8,000 bikes across North America last year.

“Novak keeps the Children’s Home kids in bikes,” said Rick Weber, development director at Children’s Home Society.

“Each year, they contact us to see what we need and make sure we have whatever we need. It’s exceptional.”

Kids at the Children’s Home Society share the bikes and can ride them on an oval-shaped track on the home’s grounds or on the nearby bike trail.

They love them so much that one group of kids even has a bike club.

“They track their miles, and the staff and kids do it together,” Weber said. “We want them to be kids and have fun. Most of them have had challenges and haven’t been able to be a kid.”

When kids leave the home, they are allowed to take a bike with them.

Novak has been “a great friend and partner for over 20 years,” Weber added, helping Children’s Home with garbage service, supporting its annual golf event and expanding the relationship to support Children’s Home Society’s Black Hills-area programs and children.

“We’re just so grateful for them,” Weber said. “And the other thing we really appreciate is the gift of their time. It takes time out of their busy days to do all this, and it’s just so sincere. They sincerely care about the mission and the kids out here.”

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Christmas arrives on two wheels thanks to Novak tradition

During the week, you probably see them collecting trash and recyclables in your neighborhood. This past weekend, Novak Sanitary Service workers donated time and money to bring a big gift to kids in need.

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