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"Put a lid on it!" Returns

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Several hundred children will receive a new bike helmet at no cost this summer through a series of events and initiatives that will comprise the 19th summer of the Grand Rapids Griffins’ “Put A Lid On It!” (PALOI) bike helmet safety program, presented by Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital.

Kicking off the summer, the Griffins’ 14th annual “Lids at the Library” bike helmet giveaways will be held in conjunction with the Grand Rapids Public Library and the Kent District Library. KDL’s Krause Memorial Branch (140 E Bridge St. NE, Rockford) will be the site on Wednesday, June 29 from 2-3 p.m., while GRPL’s Yankee Clipper Branch (2025 Leonard St. NE) will host the event on Thursday, July 14 from 1-2 p.m.

Volunteers from the Griffins, Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital’s Injury Prevention Program, and PALOI sponsors will be on hand to properly fit these free helmets for the first 100 kids at each event. Helmets will be distributed to kids ages 1-12 (subject to availability), and a parent or legal guardian must be present for a child to receive a helmet. Every child fitted with a new helmet will also receive a free t-shirt that promotes helmet usage in a variety of year-round sports, and information from the Griffins and Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital will be available for pickup.

PALOI will cap off its programming on Saturday, July 30 from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. by hosting the first-ever Griffins Bike Rodeo presented by Mobile GR in the Area 2 parking lot immediately behind Van Andel Arena, the hockey team’s home since 1996. Kids age 10 and younger are invited to test both their bike-handling skills and their knowledge of the rules of the road while learning about bike safety through a series of fun and challenging stations staffed by officers from the Kent County Sheriff’s Office and other local police agencies. The free event will feature helmet giveaways and basic bike safety checks for kids, plus games and activities. Families are encouraged to ride their bikes to the event or utilize Area 2 parking that will be free for event attendees. Further details about the bike rodeo will be announced in the coming weeks.

Since its founding in 2004, the Griffins’ PALOI program has worked with numerous local organizations – including police departments, pediatricians, schools, libraries, bike shops and sporting goods stores – to encourage helmet usage during wheeled sports, prevent head injuries, and reward kids who wear their helmets.

PALOI targets elementary and middle school students in a seven-county region of West Michigan. Children age 17 or younger who visit with parental permission and sign a pledge to always wear their helmet will be rewarded with a voucher for two free tickets to a 2022-23 Griffins game and be automatically registered for a drawing to win a new bike.

The Griffins have provided their annual grant to Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital’s Injury Prevention Program, enabling that organization to purchase approximately 140 additional bike helmets for distribution through its other programs and events. In addition, through a continuing partnership with The Motion Initiative (TMI), the Griffins will provide helmets to kids served by that organization in the Black Hills neighborhood on the southwest side of Grand Rapids. TMI works to facilitate adventure, freedom, and hope, through the gateway of cycling, to those that need it most.

Additional information for parents, including tips for choosing a helmet and getting their child to wear it, is available at

The “Put A Lid On It!” program is supported by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Centennial Securities, Huntington, Meijer, Mobile GR, and Safe Kids Greater Grand Rapids. In celebration of the “Lids at the Library” kickoff on June 29 at the KDL Krause Memorial Branch, Huntington will have its ice cream truck on site to pass out free treats to event attendees.

Photo by Nicolas Carrillo/Griffins

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